After School Activities: 3 top tips for a busy mum or dad on how you choose the activities to keep and the ones to drop?

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Family time and relaxation is as precious as learning and developing. The ‘time-out’ is equally as crucial to a child’s development but with so many opportunities out there for after school activities how do you strike the balance and decide what to continue with and what to drop?

“Quitting” is an awful word there is nothing worse than hearing “she’s quit” or “he’s quit!” However we also understand that at different stages of a child’s life they need to reassess their commitments as there is so much to choose from to fill your child’s time and as a child develops and their ability increases in one particular area the commitment to that activity needs to increase.

Swimming is a prime example. Every child needs to swim as it is a fundamental life skill but as your child progresses it can lead to training early mornings, evenings and weekends. At what point as the parent do you put the brakes on and reassess? It may be that you want to streamline their activities and look for one or two that enhance all areas of their lives. It may be that you need to look for ways of helping them conquer presentation skills or nerves or the ability to sell themselves in a part time job interview? Maybe it is at the point where you need to decide which one to drop and which ones to keep that you need to look at what they offer your child over and above the most important point of their enjoyment! Fun is key to any activity that any of us do at any age. When a child is having fun and feels happy they will develop.

This is not an easy exercise but really considering the benefits of each activity is a good starting point. You primarily want your child to be happy and enjoying what they are doing so:

1) Eradicate the ones that they are not enjoying first and foremost however much you want them to do it!

2) Look at the activities that are going to have exponential benefits. Drama is a prime example. The benefit of drama upon all other academic subjects, emotionally, personally, mentally and physically are enormous. As a parent you can no longer rely on its delivery, with the cuts to the arts, within a school setting and therefore enhancing your child’s life by having it as an extra curricular activity will ensure that you and your child reap the rewards. Look at all of it’s benefits!

3) Then look at your time. Which ones work with your hectic schedule and that of your child’s? As they grow up the workload and commitment from school increases and it is so important that you are monitoring what they can cope with too. Look for the activities that take up the least amount of time but hold the most benefits!

Look for those that fit well into the week as a working parent or family. Remembering that there also has to be quality family time and relaxation. Activities at the weekends often end up being missed because of children’s parties and weekends away visiting friends. So again choose the activities that will be best attended because the consistency will also aid the end result for your child. Missing lots of gymnastics lessons on a Saturday due to children’s parties is not going to be helpful for your child’s development and you are going to feel torn and more stressed because naturally your child will prefer to attend their best friend’s cinema party or football party in preference to attending their lesson/class.  You will certainly feel better not paying for something that they cannot consistently attend for 39 weeks of the year.

It is very tricky as we all want the best for our children and we want to give them every opportunity in life but there is only so much that they can do.

We only have so many minutes in a day and what we do with those 1440 minutes really count both as a parent and a child! I was discussing this very point with a young boy who was trialling one of our lessons at Little Voices recentley. I said to him, “you can be whatever you want to be but it all hinges on how you choose to spend your time.” His parent/guardian looked at me and totally agreed. She was so impressed and said “Little Voices is exactly what he needs at the moment and I can see that your lessons are so much more than just training in drama and singing.”

I could see that on the young boys face he had really absorbed what I had said. As we know our teachers can have a profound effect on the next generation and it is part of the life skills and guidance that after school activities should seek to achieve, in my opinion.

When our founder, Jane Maudsley created Little Voices (inspirational education for the next generation training children to the highest standard in drama and singing) she did not want it to be seen as just another drama club or music lesson. The groups are so small so that we can have a really positive and profound effect on a child’s education as a whole. As we know the word education comes from the Latin ‘educare’ meaning to draw out. We aim to draw out the potential in every child so that the can achieve to a really high level in life and/or on the stage.

After school activities need to be fun primarily but fundamentally they need to have a multiple function for the next generation. The time of a parent is so precious these days as we are running around as career women and men, mothers, fathers, partners, housekeepers and all in the most glamorous fashion too! The way to get the best results is to use our time effectively and that means using it smartly! Every element of our time and every ounce of our children’s time needs to be balanced effectively. Let’s face it we all want the best for our children. We all want them to be successful and happy.

Every single person in the world has one common denominator – TIME. The same amount of it and it is ticking away at the same rate for us all. Our success and our happiness is a result of what we do with our time!

So perhaps this week is the time to find an activity that serves a multitude of functions in yours and your child’s life? It will help with the chaos of being a busy mum or dad.

You can always ring Little Voices Head Office and they will put you in touch with your nearest Principal so that you can really have a good chat about your child and what they need. It might be that Little Voices is not what you are looking for and we are not right for your child but we will always be honest and every child can apply for a free trial lesson and experience Little Voices for themselves. We are always honest and give our professional feedback to help you in your quest to find the right after school activity for your child.

Cherice x

Past Pupil Sadie tells us all about the benefits of Little Voices in her career now…

Sadie ThomasWhere are you now? (eg. college/uni/career and location in the world)

  • I am currently living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, after taking alast minute job role with 2 weeks notice I had to pack up my life and move over here!  I am a Women’s Footwear Merchandising Intern at Tommy Hilfiger International Head Office. I am on a placement year from the University of Manchester where I study Design Management for Fashion Retailing BSc Hons.

What are your aspirations for the future?

  •  I hope to create my own fashion brand and take on the role of Director and Head Buyer within this, focusing on fast fashion which is affordable but super chic! I plan on moving to Australia in September 2016 to complete a Masters in Fashion Business at the Fashion Institute in Sydney to help further my knowledge in fashion!

When did you first join Little Voices?

  •  I joined Little Voices in 2006 and stayed throughout School and Sixth form until I left for university.

How did you/your parents hear about Little Voices?

  •  I heard about Little Voices through the co founder, Jane herself, as the business was founded just as I was to join

What made you attend and stay with Little Voices?

  •  I had some of the best nights at Little Voices, and made some friends that I will have for life, the pure talent of the teachers inspired me learn more, and I was completely obsessed with Drama and Singing throughout (and still to this day)

How do you think Little Voices has helped you – is there a direct correlation between what you are doing now and your attendance at Little Voices?

  •  Little Voices gave me confidence to work solo, and as a team which has helped me significantly now. It helped me with my presentation skills, vocal skills, which I am constantly using in work presentations. Little Voices made me realize that in life you have to remove yourself from you’re comfort zones. I highly doubt I would have moved countries, to a Dutch speaking country with no family or friends if I didn’t have the confidence Little Voices gave me

What did you love about your lessons?

  • I loved the freedom of the lessons, and the structure of the lessons (one week singing, one week drama). The teachers made you feel so comfortable, and the other pupils were great to get along with. Having the choice of musicals and plays meant you always had the freedom to choose characters. Little Voices expanded my vocal range, and dramatic skills which have significantly impacted my life today.

Can you give a one line quote/advice for those wishing to follow in your footsteps?  (what they should absolutely do to reach their dreams?)

My quote I live by “Spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself & a little less time trying to impress people”

 

A child’s future should not be affected by the lack of arts in the education system!

It’s a worrying state of affairs to constantly hear about the cuts to creative subjects from the curriculum when the benefits of subjects such as drama and music are so crucial to a child’s overall development and preparation for life. There are so many benefits of these subjects that schools will struggle to replace; creativity, resilience, motivation, humour, courage, spontaneity, compassion, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, improvisation, teamwork, pushing boundaries, self-confidence, handling adrenalin and critical thinking and that is just a small proportion of the huge list of benefits!

Drama and music help a child to develop so much in all areas of their life and as they mature into adulthood the foundations created through a fun medium are critical when asked to present in your career or respond with confident eye contact, body language and projection in an interview. The cuts will affect all children and especially the ones who have ambitions of being on the stage and gracing our red carpets in the future.

The good news is that there are options that enable parents to nurture their children’s talents, enhance their life skills and build their confidence outside of the school environment. Cuts within the education system are forcing parents to look elsewhere for alternatives. I have taught a pupil for several years and without the tuition she would not have had the doors opened to the future that she dreamt of and the confidence to pursue her ambitions. The curriculum does not embrace performing arts education as much as it could and therefore parents need to source performing arts education outside of the school environment each week. This particular pupil fought of hundreds of young hopefuls to secure her place at one of the UKs leading performing arts schools with a scholarship to Sylvia Young Theatre School, London. However the skills to get into this school have not been thanks to the great British education system but providers of drama, singing and dance after school.

In an era of cuts it may be that a growing number of parents look outside of school to help to supplement their children’s ambitions and all round education.

I believe that it is an absolute tragedy that children from all backgrounds are going to suffer with the cuts to drama and music provision. It is just not recognised as being as important as Maths or English yet it is a fundamental to a child’s learning and development as any core subject. Music embraces all of the core subjects of maths, English, geography, history, science and so much more. Personal development in self-confidence and presentation sets a child up for life. It concerns me that children’s vocal and dramatic talents will not be nurtured within schools to their full potential. Of course that is superb news for Little Voices as we exist to enhance a child’s talents and confidence and we are lucky to teach such fabulous students who go on to pursue their dreams of becoming a professional actress at prestigious schools across the country. In a time of such uncertainty for the creative arts in schools we are able to inspire the next generation through singing and drama and are keen to help as many children across the UK as we can.

The future may be very hazy for the arts in schools but parents need to rest assured that there are organisations out there on your doorstep such as Little Voices that can you’re your child to reach their full potential in life and strive for a career in the industry if they wish.

 

Cherice

Why DRAMA and SINGING for your child?

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Of course if you love the arts and acting/music is right for you but what if you want a different career? Many pupils do want to pursue a professional acting career but MOST do not!

 

Can you think of a job that does not require the skills you practice in drama?

 

Did you know that 70% of Oxbridge undergraduates have experience or qualifications in Drama, Dance or Music?

 

Why do you think that top universities want students that have the skills that drama gives you the opportunity to develop?

 

These are clearly reasons that mean that Little Voices is a key activity to commit to and keep year after year! It is why we have so many pupils that go right the through the grades and stay until they are 18 years old with us!

 

The Importance Of Teaching The Voice

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There are many different approaches to teaching the voice but what is really important is HOW the good techniques are explained and taught to each individual pupil. A child may learn better by hearing, watching or making the sound themselves!

 

Every child learns differently and it may be that they need to hear their teacher make the sound so that they can copy it. All of our Little Voices tutors are performers as well as teachers and this really helps as they can explain what to do with the voice and they can demonstrate what the sound should be like too!

 

Fundamentally though a child needs to be nurtured and they need to feel safe so that they will comfortably share their voice in public. Working in a small group is a very secure environment for a child to develop their voice. A child becomes comfortable enough to try new things out, push their limits, sing high notes that the didn’t realise that they had and make silly noises that they wouldn’t dream of doing in public!

 

Please do contact us if you need any advice for your child, we are always here to help!

Top LAMDA Exam Success for Little Voices’ Pupils

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Little Voices South West London performing arts school has helped students in Fulham to achieve outstanding results in this year’s London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations. In May, 150 Little Voices children took exams in grades 1- 8 with over 99% achieving a distinctions and merits, and yet again, Little Voices has maintained its outstanding 100% pass record. The students ranged from aged 4 to 18 years old.

Principal, Ashlea commented: “We are thrilled that our students’ talents have been recognised through these amazing results and are so proud of all of them. It is always rewarding to be part of an organisation that helps students to achieve their ambitions,” she said.

LAMDA examinations are prestigious awards, from which students can gain UCAS points to help with their university applications. As part of the exams, students must perform their poems, scenes and straight acting pieces for the examiner with confidence. One child; Max Moorehouse aged 11 years took a grade 3 solo acting exam and achieved exceptional marks with a very high distinction.

Little Voices have four centres across south west London, running for the past three years during which time Principal Ashlea Pearson and her team of tutors have trained 200 students in drama and singing, helping them to achieve a consistent 3 years of impressive LAMDA results.

For more information about Little Voices in Fulham, please contact Ashlea on phone: 07823384992 or Email: SWL@littlevoices.org.uk.

Top LAMDA Exam Success for Little Voices’ Richmond Pupils

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Little Voices South West London performing arts school has helped students in Richmond to achieve outstanding results in this year’s London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations. In May, 150 Little Voices children took exams in grades 1- 8 with over 99% achieving a distinctions and merits, and yet again, Little Voices has maintained its outstanding 100% pass record. The students ranged from aged 4 to 18 years old.

Principal, Ashlea commented: “We are thrilled that our students’ talents have been recognised through these amazing results and are so proud of all of them. It is always rewarding to be part of an organisation that helps students to achieve their ambitions,” she said.

LAMDA examinations are prestigious awards, from which students can gain UCAS points to help with their university applications. As part of the exams, students must perform their poems, scenes and straight acting pieces for the examiner with confidence. One child; Max Moorehouse aged 11 years took a grade 3 solo acting exam and achieved exceptional marks with a very high distinction.

Little Voices have four centres across south west London, running for the past three years during which time Principal Ashlea Pearson and her team of tutors have trained 200 students in drama and singing, helping them to achieve a consistent 3 years of impressive LAMDA results.

For more information about Little Voices in South West London, please contact Ashlea on phone: 07823384992 or Email: SWL@littlevoices.org.uk.

Top LAMDA Exam Success for Little Voices’ Putney & Wandsworth Pupils

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Little Voices South West London performing arts school has helped students in Putney and Wandsworth to achieve outstanding results in this year’s London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations. In May, 150 Little Voices children took exams in grades 1- 8 with over 99% achieving a distinctions and merits, and yet again, Little Voices has maintained its outstanding 100% pass record. The students ranged from aged 4 to 18 years old.

Principal, Ashlea commented: “We are thrilled that our students’ talents have been recognised through these amazing results and are so proud of all of them. It is always rewarding to be part of an organisation that helps students to achieve their ambitions,” she said.

LAMDA examinations are prestigious awards, from which students can gain UCAS points to help with their university applications. As part of the exams, students must perform their poems, scenes and straight acting pieces for the examiner with confidence. One child; Max Moorehouse aged 11 years took a grade 3 solo acting exam and achieved exceptional marks with a very high distinction.

Little Voices also work alongside Dolphin & Noah’s ark school providing their students with after school training, pupils from the school also took part in the recent LAMDA examinations. Mr. Jeff Schmitt, principal of the School said “We have thoroughly enjoyed having Little voices as an integral part of our extra-curricular program.  They have brought their unique blend of dynamic teaching, professionalism and expertise to our school which has, in turn, led to our pupils feeling empowered to fully embrace their creative gifts through the prestigious examinations.  Thank you for your wholehearted investment in our school.”

For more information about Little Voices in South West London, please contact Ashlea on phone: 07823384992 or Email: SWL@littlevoices.org.uk.

Singing & Drama Lessons For 4 – 7 Years

Does your child love to sing? Act?

Would you like to build their confidence?

 

If you consider how many times your child will have to speak in front of others in their lifetime – present a project or read aloud, attend an interview for college or work, for example, the number will be very high, how can your child improve these skills in an enjoyable way?

 

Whether your child is a complete novice and has never had a singing or drama lesson before or your son/daughter is already attending a weekly stage school and you wish to enhance their current tuition you have found the right place to nurture their ability!

 

Book TWO Free Trial Lessons 

Before: 9th December

 Little Voices Wandsworth provides specialised singing and drama lessons, giving your child specific individual tuition within a group of only eight children. Our highly qualified tutors are extremely passionate and are determined to work to your child’s individual needs and ability. Our unique lessons build children’s confidence through fun and inspiring after school singing and drama lessons while working specifically towards group showcases and highly respected and accredited communication examinations through ‘The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art’.

What Age Range Do We Cater For?

Pupils are organised into small groups of pupils according to their friendships within the groups and their ability.

Mini Voices – lessons are 40 minutes and are designed for 4 to 7 year olds.

Where Do The Lessons Take Place?

Swaffield Primary School, St. Ann’s Hill, Wandsworth, SW18 2SA

 

Find Out More What Do Our Parents Think? Recent News Term Dates Holiday Theatre Weeks

Your child can learn:

  • How to sing with clarity, projection and confidence

  • How to over come stage fright

  • How to project and talk in front of an audience 

Enrolling with TWO FREE Trials this term!

3

 Apply for Free Trial Lesson

*Terms and Conditions apply. You MUST apply by filling in and submitting a Free Trial Lesson Form. This allows us to assess the different abilities of children, ages and friendships for the lesson. It in no way enrols your child into regular lessons.

 

Singing & Drama Lessons For 4 – 7 Years

Does your child love to sing? Act?

Would you like to build their confidence?

 

If you consider how many times your child will have to speak in front of others in their lifetime – present a project or read aloud, attend an interview for college or work, for example, the number will be very high, how can your child improve these skills in an enjoyable way?

 

Whether your child is a complete novice and has never had a singing or drama lesson before or your son/daughter is already attending a weekly stage school and you wish to enhance their current tuition you have found the right place to nurture their ability!

 

Book TWO Free Trial Lessons 

Before: 7th October

 Little Voices Putney provides specialised singing and drama lessons, giving your child specific individual tuition within a group of only eight children. Our highly qualified tutors are extremely passionate and are determined to work to your child’s individual needs and ability. Our unique lessons build children’s confidence through fun and inspiring after school singing and drama lessons while working specifically towards group showcases and highly respected and accredited communication examinations through ‘The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art’.

What Age Range Do We Cater For?

Pupils are organised into small groups of pupils according to their friendships within the groups and their ability.

Mini Voices – lessons are 40 minutes and are designed for 4 to 7 year olds.

Where Do The Lessons Take Place?

St. Mary’s Church, Putney, SW15 1SN

 

Find Out More What Do Our Parents Think? Recent News Term Dates Holiday Theatre Weeks

Your child can learn:

  • How to sing with clarity, projection and confidence

  • How to over come stage fright

  • How to project and talk in front of an audience 

Enrolling with TWO FREE Trials this term!

3

 Apply for Free Trial Lesson

*Terms and Conditions apply. You MUST apply by filling in and submitting a Free Trial Lesson Form. This allows us to assess the different abilities of children, ages and friendships for the lesson. It in no way enrols your child into regular lessons.