|Stock photo found on Cornerstonelife.org|
Ok I put my hands up in shame and admit I used to think Sure Start Centers were somewhere you had to take your kids if you weren’t doing a very good job with them, but after visiting my local one a couple of weeks ago I can say I have been missing out!
I’m lucky that there are four Sure Start Centers in Winchester that I can have access too – Sunbeams and Reign and Shine Children's Centre, Sparklers and Carroll Children's Centre, Little Petals and Merry-Go-Round and Happy Valley Children's Centre and Lanterns Children's Centre. Offering baby massage classes, antenatal and prenatal yoga, play sessions for different age groups and access to community support staff that can help with everything from baby routines to weaning, it is well worth joining. Oh and did I mention the best thing…. It is FREE to join.
|Lanterns Children's Centre - so much fun goes on behind these gates|
Some of the courses and play sessions do charge a small fee but if you are unable to pay or in my case once forgot to bring change, you won’t be laughed out of the building. Becoming a member also means you get free access to the centers toy and book library that feature some fun things to do with the kids. In the case of my local center – Lanterns – the library is split into different age groups and can be taken home for a couple of weeks. They even have a ball pit and balls you can borrow!
After a couple of visits to the mum and baby group, it has been great for the Mini Grumpy Egyptian to interact with others her age and for me to meet other mums. The babies get access to the playroom with lots of cushions and toys, as well as a ball pool and sensory room (funky lights!). It is suggested a donation of 1 is made, but as mentioned earlier you won’t be turned away if you don’t have it. They also offer a record book, which I thought was a lovely idea, where you can record your babies milestones and take foot/hand prints as they grow.
To find your local centre, click here.