Parents and Toddlers Group


Who are we?

Saint Michael’s Parents and Toddlers Group

Who are we for?

Parents, carers, babies and toddlers

What do we do?

We provide a welcoming play area where a wide variety of activities are available. Refreshments are provided.  Special events: small local companies and representatives are regularly invited to promote their goods – for example Osborne Books.  A photographer visits twice a year.  Special activities: over Christmas and Easter we have special events. We raise finds for Children in Need and for other charities.

When and where do we meet?

Thursday mornings during term-time from 9:45am until 11:30am in the Church Centre

Names of leaders/contact information:

Janet Spencer (Chair)   Tel: (0115)
Lin Gilbert (Treasurer)  Tel: (0115)

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Saint Michael’s Toddler Group Annual Report 2014

“Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me”
Matthew 18:5

Our toddler group has continued to be extremely popular this past year building up to a record 55 children for a few weeks, although the usual attendance is between 35 & 45 with approximately 30 – 40 parents/carers. There have been quite a few changes in the leaders this year starting with Sue Ellis leaving in the summer of 2013. Many thanks go to Sue for her service and dedication to the group over the past 3 years. At this point Gill Wilmot took over the role as chair as well as treasurer with Claire McMillan continuing as vice-chair. Gill “retired” from the leadership at the end of 2013 although will still continue taking an active part as St. Michael’s “Church friend” to the group as she has done for many years. After 12 years of association with the toddler group it would be hard to give up altogether. We thank Gill for all of her hard work throughout the years and are thankful for her continued support. Janet Spencer took over the role of chair in January 2014 with Lin Gilbert as treasurer and Claire McMillan continuing as vice-chair. We still have our committee of parents and carers who help out with the running of the group and also our thanks go to many others who come early to set up and stay to clear away. Last but not least our grateful thanks go to Diane Jones for being our “on site” nurse each week a role which she has given a lot of thought and effort to and is greatly appreciated. Thanks also go to Gill Fazey as our “stand in” emergency nurse when Diane is not available.

Our volunteer “tea” ladies continue to be a blessing to us all as we seek to show Jesus’ love by serving our local community. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Diane Satchwell after many years service when her working hours changed and our grateful thanks go to Diane for all her dedication and help to the group. Betty Elleray loyally continues to help out once a month and it was wonderful to welcome Lesley Hill back full time after a short break. Sandra Read thankfully helped out when we were “short staffed” and we really appreciated her input at this time. We are grateful to have a new member of the team in Pearl Bostock who comes along weekly to help out. John McQueenie also gives us tremendous support when needed. Our grateful thanks go to all of them.

We are still a popular group for sellers of books, cards and other children’s related items, All of these businesses give 10% of their sales back to toddler funds. We also invite a professional photography service twice a year and Gill continues to take “Santa” photographs of the children at Christmas and these are very well received by all.

Easter arrived with a party and Easter egg hunt. The children listened to an Easter story and each child went home with a book also about the Easter story. In the summer we felt it was important to recognise those who would be moving on from the group and presented a leaver’s certificate and Bible book to the children and recognised the parents and carers by giving them a Thorntons chocolate bag with a special message. During the summer break we organised a “Teddy Bears Picnic” on St George’s Park. The sun shone and the time was thoroughly enjoyed by those who were able to come along. Christmas arrived, again with a party for the children and a visit from Vicar Paul and “friends”. This year the children went in to church to hear about the Christmas story and the feedback from the adults was extremely favourable, asking if we can do that every year. The morning ended with the expected visit from “Santa” Jonathan Marston who charmed the children and adults alike and gave each child a Christian Christmas tree gift and book about the Christmas story. Thank you Jonathan, as always a “STAR”!

We have managed to keep to the £1.00 per family charge per morning and also retain a small but healthy bank balance being able to replace toys as they wear out and keep everything in tip top condition. We also raised a total of £178.47 for Children in Need and Comic Relief, and thanks go to all who were so generous in their giving. We have continued with our pattern of play, craft – usually related to the Christian story from Kate Prayle towards the end of the morning.- refreshments, story time then ending with a mixture of Christian and secular songs and rhymes.

We are striving to improve links between the Church and the Toddler Group and have been doing so throughout the year by inviting our parents and children to events that may be of interest to them, such as Messy Church and the children’s Christmas Eve service, both of which were well attended by “toddler” families.

Claire McMillan also looks after a page for the toddler group on the internet updating with our agenda and other useful information – thank you Claire!!

Since January, we have welcomed Kate Bryan to our team of helpers.

In response to requests from families, we now provide a healthy snack as an alternative to biscuits. This is usually a combination of fresh and dried fruit and bread sticks.

We have been delighted to have our own notice board in the Church Centre and are making good use of it. We are using it to display items, such as crafts relating to our Bible story and theme for the week and also prayer requests that our parents and children may have. We would like to encourage church members to join with us in praying for the needs of those attending toddlers.

In the coming months we have a taster session from ‘Creation Station’ booked and will be welcoming back the ever popular photographer as well as a Fair Trade stall. We are also looking into the possibility of ‘Socatots’ and baby massage sessions. We will also be continuing the programme of health information talks delivered by Diane Jones.

We have had various activities over the last term, which includes the children producing hand prints to personalise the notice board, Valentine and Mothering Sunday gifts. As we have been looking at the miracles of Jesus the children have made a boat (Jesus calms the storm), a fish (Jesus tells the disciples to cast their nets) and a prayer heart for our notice board (Jesus heals us and of course, loves us).

We are looking forward to various crafts and activities leading up to Easter and especially celebrating with a visit into church for our story and song time.

We have purchased a few new toys and a couple of new bouncy chairs for the babies and have been blessed by some lovely second hand toys from a few different people, many thanks to them.

Please do have a look at the notice board and our Facebook page and please continue to keep our Toddler Group in your prayers.

The total for the financial year given to the PCC was £675.18.

Until December 2013
        Gill Wilmot (Chair/Treasurer)
        Claire McMillan (Vice Chair)

From January 2014
       
Janet Spencer (Chair)
       
Lin Gilbert (Treasurer)