Home St. Paul’s Children’s Centres Services Antenatal Support Pregnancy Matters Breastfeeding Support Employment and Training Advice Family Learning Family Learning Blog #GetBalsallHeathReading Get Families Talking Holiday Kitchen Family Support HENRY Housing, Benefit and Debt Advice Parent Classes ESOL Pre-Entry Class ESOL Entry 1 Class IT Classes Parenting Programmes Parents Voice Stay and Plays Baby Matters Can Do Stay and Play Little Explorers Musical Babies Talking Together Toddler Talk Wellbeing Groups Our Family Learning Blog Learning during Lockdown17/04/2020Family Learning Blog / Trust WideRecently a parent sent me a WhatsApp message. “Thank you, Hafsha. We have just visited Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal – all in one afternoon! Tomorrow, we are off to see the Pyramids! Thank you!” The message connected with me on so many different fronts. Firstly, I pondered at the amazing ways technology has enriched our lives. Imagine visiting both these wonderful palaces in a lifetime, never mind in the same afternoon during lockdown! Imagine stepping into the footsteps of those who walked before. How did they live? How did they heat the rooms? What did they eat? How did they home school their children? I also thought about the learning opportunities and the rich conversations that followed the virtual visits. The pictures drawn, the stories written, the role plays that filled rooms with laughter and the wonderful memories created in a time of so much chaos and worry. The unprecedented times and school closures have forced parents to become teachers too. Not an easy task when they are trying to manage everything else too, from changes in family routines, parenting, pressures on household budgets, managing their own and their families wellbeing and anxiety, all coupled with some parents working from home. So if it’s time for your family to have a free virtual day out to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or the British Museum in London or one of the many hundreds of places on offer do book your free visits at the sites below. Remember to add to the joy, by getting creative and making passports, boarding passes and the sandwiches for your in-flight meals! https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours https://nationalgeographic.com The following also have lots of free fabulous online resources and advice guides for families. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize https://www.twinkl.co.uk/ https://www.senecalearning.com/ https://www.splashlearn.com/fraction-games Also, there are lots of YouTube channels offering craft and fitness sessions etc. Some we like include: Kids Learning Tube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7EFWpvc1wYuUwrtZ_BLi9A P E with Joe Wicks at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX05HHni9Wk Daily Yoga with Adriene at https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene/videosoga If it’s Shakespeare you’re after then the ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre are sharing free plays and films online at https://globeplayer.tv/ Remember the importance of reading and sharing books with your children is imperative and also part of many families daily routine. Do take a look at the large range of children audio books available for free during school closure at https://www.audible.co.uk/ Cooking and baking offer up so many learning opportunities from measuring, counting healthy foods and growing cycles. For inspiration do take a look at Wagamamas restaurant, free virtual cooking lessons, ‘Wok from Home’ on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. For great baking tutorials check out the yummy doughnut tutorial at https://www.breadahead.com/ And finally for when we all just need some time to ourselves, do take a look at the free meditation and sleep exercises at https://www.headspace.com/ This time will soon pass and whilst we will reflect at the awfulness of it lets also reflect and think about some of the wonderful things we learnt, shared and created with our families, whilst staying indoors. So be brave, bake the doughnuts, decorate the cookies and just laugh as you all try and pick up the tiny decorations as they spill all over the place. Stay safe and well. – Written By: Hafsha Shaikh Smartlyte Ltd 17/4/2020 ... Read more...Read all About It! People with Passion Award!16/01/2020Family Learning Blog / St. Paul's Children's Centres / Trust WideWe are delighted to share ‘Get Balsall Heath Reading’ has received the Community Award, for People with Passion 2020. The lack of literacy impacts individuals and their families for generations. Adults with poor literacy skills struggle with employment, social inclusion, social mobility, self-esteem and struggle to support their children’s learning. And so, the long tail of disadvantage continues from one generation to another. This strand of Get Balsall Heath Reading was a project between Smartlyte, St. Paul’s CDT and Approachable Parenting; who recognised this and aimed to make a difference. Smartlyte’s targeted work improved local families’ social, democratic and cultural literacy. Parents could then move onto parenting programmes and / or access volunteering opportunities with St Paul’s. The project was celebrated for its impact and collaboration. At a lovely celebration event held at the grand Birmingham Council House, we met organisations and individuals, all trying to make a difference, in their communities. The excitement built as the Lord Mayor, Mr Mohammed Azim arrived wearing his Mayoral regalia. Just as he was escorted into the room, he was welcomed by our selfie board, after which there was only one conclusion! Do enjoy photos of our selfie board meeting everyone and do take a look at Twitter for more pics. David Cusack, CEO of St. Paul’s CDT said “This is brilliant news and a clear example showing the impact of collaborative work. What a fantastic way to start the New Year!” Hafsha Shaikh Smartlyte Ltd 15/1/2020 Photos: (Click on Photo to view full size)... Read more...Amsty Meets Mr Loan Shark!26/06/2019Family Learning Blog / St. Paul's Children's CentresOn a cold and wet Wednesday afternoon, during half term, we were delighted to help Smartlyte Ltd with their event at the Balsall Heath Library. Smartlyte’s, ‘Families Learning Together’ workshop, helped families to raise awareness of the dangers of online illegal money lending and loan sharks. Families heard the story of how Amsty; an old computer who lives in the Library, scared away Mr Loan Shark with the help of his friend Mrs Anti. Following this, families modelled Superheroes and made cartoon clips, using animation software. We were delighted to help 35 local families and over 90 parents and children learn about an important issue and a new skill together. Be sure you check out our animation film at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jsia0d1de2j2dhj/LAP290519_SMARTLYTE_EDIT_FULLHD.mp4?dl=0 or https://youtu.be/rFvZbyv3vFw Hafsha Shaikh, June 2019 More images from the session (Click on image to view full size)... Read more...Nursery World Awards 2018 – Winners!!25/09/2018Family Learning Blog / St. Paul's Children's CentresWe are absolutely delighted to share that our joint project with Smartlyte: ‘#Get Balsall Heath Reading’ scooped first prize in the Nursery World Awards, 2018 in the ‘Working with Parents’ category. Our entry was one of five shortlisted finalists. Despite the stiff competition our joint entry came out as a clear winner! It was great to receive our award and certificate in a glittering ceremony, held in London on Saturday. The judges said of our entry “An excellent initiative with life – enhancing skills gained.” David Cusack, Chief Executive of St Paul’s Community Development Trust said “Getting the Nursery World Award, endorses what I know is a powerful and effective campaign to get families to understand and grasp the importance of reading in the overall development of children” Hafsha Shaikh of Smartlyte said “This Award recognises the efforts and commitments of all staff and families to improve their own and their families skills. Reading opens up many doors. Parents being able to read opens doors and opportunities for their children and allows them all to aspire and succeed. ‘#Get Balsall Heath Reading’ helps parents to encourage and enthuse their children to have a love of books!” We look forward to continuing and developing #Get Balsall Heath Reading! Awards-WorkingWithParents – PDF Document... Read more...We are shortlisted again for the Nursery World Awards!18/09/2018Family Learning Blog / St. Paul's Children's CentresWe are delighted to share our project with Smartlyte, ‘#Get Balsall Heath Reading’ has been shortlisted for the Nursery World Awards, 2018. This is the second consecutive year ‘#Get Balsall Heath Reading’ has been nominated and shortlisted and is huge recognition of the impact and success of the parental engagement work it is achieving. The Awards recognise achievement and best practice in the sector and are the most prestigious event in the early years calendar. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, 22nd September at a black tie event in London, with over 500 guests expected to attend. We are absolutely thrilled to be representing you all and families from Balsall Heath who have made this achievement possible. We look forward to reporting back with some good news next week!... Read more...‘Families Voices’03/09/2018Family Learning Blog / St. Paul's Children's CentresLast week, we were delighted to host our ‘Families Voices’ Consultation Event at Balsall Heath Children’s Centre, in partnership with St Paul’s Development Trust and Smartlyte. The consultation was arranged as part of “The Community Cohesion strategy for Birmingham – Forward together to build a fair and inclusive city for all” outlines Birmingham City Council’s commitment and approach to promoting cohesion. The city consultation sought opinions and feedback via an online questionnaire. The event, together with other citywide community events sought to obtain opinions from local communities. Our event, ‘Families Voices’ was different in that we were able to capture the opinions of both parents and children, and not just adults. The questions to facilitate a discussion with local families about cohesion and the strategy were simplified to ensure inclusivity with specific children’s activitites to ensure all involved could contribute. We also used the opportunity to invite West Midlands Fire Service to promote their ‘Safe & Well’ checks to families. Families Voices was a huge success with over 25 families joining us in sharing opinions, demonstrating community cohesion and having fun! As some of the comments from families show cohesion and pride in Balsall Heath is not new! “Children’s centre, swimming baths and parks are a place to make friends . “Children’s centre has nice people. Staff are really understanding – Lots of kids activities”. “Balsall Heath Park – we go every two days really beautiful place” “Schools in Balsall Heath are brilliant!” Written By: Hafsha Shaikh (Smartlyte)... Read more... 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