Introducing Happy Hedgehogs: A Brand New Group for Young Children in Bristol

Happy Hedgehogs

A brand new group which will bring the magic of the changing seasons and the wonders of nature to children indoors is launching soon in Filton, Bristol.

Starting in November – with a free taster session planned on Tuesday 21st October – Happy Hedgehogs is a brand new group for young children aged 2 – 4 years, although younger children will be welcomed if parents feel they will benefit from sessions.

Happy Hedgehogs will be held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in term-time at St Andrew’s Church, Filton. There will be an option of two sessions on each of these days; the first session being 9.30 – 10.30am (ideal for parents who have just dropped off older children at school) and the second session being at 10.45 – 11.45am. Sessions will last for one hour.

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Happy Hedgehogs is the inspiration of Bristol Mum reader and mum of two, Charlotte Rooney (pictured above with one of her children). Charlotte explains:

“I’m so excited to be launching Happy Hedgehogs. For a while now I’ve been thinking of how I can combine my desire to work with children with my love of nature, stories and music. All of a sudden the concept came together along with the opportunity to leave work for a complete career change.”

Happy Hedgehogs was inspired by Charlotte’s love of nature and the changing of the seasons and her desire to bring this indoors in an indoor forest school way. There will be songs and stories to celebrate the different seasons; for example, in early Spring children at Happy Hedgehogs will enjoy stories, songs and actions about the world waking up and early Autumn will be all about Harvest and the changing colours.

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In this way, Charlotte aims to enable kids to learn and understand the yearly cycle and enjoy the delights and wonders of the great outdoors, while also aiding young children’s communication skills and physical development.

Charlotte explains how Happy Hedgehogs sessions will also be responsive to the weather that day:

“What we do will be reflected in the world around us – at this time of year we might sing about rain, be leaves blown around by the wind or even be a hibernating hedgehog! After that we’ll snuggle down with cosy blankets and a snack to listen to some seasonal stories, and then give the children the opportunity to let rip with the Instrument Box – they can bang, rattle and shake however they like to explore their own rhythms.”

Charlotte’s intention of bringing the great outdoors inside is not only confined to stories and songs however but also in a nature basket:

“There’ll also be the nature basket as an alternative for them to play with pebbles, pinecones, driftwood and other nature treasure if they’re not in the mood for making their own music.”

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Charlotte explains what Happy Hedgehogs sessions will involve:

“A typical Happy Hedgehogs session will start off with time for everyone to arrive, the children to settle and grown-ups to grab a drink if they want. We’ll then do some brilliant songs and actions to get everyone up, moving and singing.”

Following the actions and singing will be time for a snuggle with cuddly toys for a story and snacks on blankets that Charlotte is currently making especially for Happy Hedgehogs. Teas, coffees and biscuits are provided free of charge for grown-ups, with drinks, fruit snacks and biscuits for children. In this way, Charlotte aims to create a nice space and comfortable environment for both adults and children.

After story and snack time there will be ten minutes of a music-free-for-all with an instrument box and books for children to have fun with.

Charlotte has completed her Part 1 Forest School Training and will be drawing on some of the forest school principles in the Happy Hedgehogs sessions. She is also a skilled pianist, having achieved her grade 7 piano certificate and also runs a women’s drumming group, adding to her musical talents. Charlotte holds a full DBS (which has recently replaced the CRB).

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Happy Hedgehogs sessions will run termly, working out at £4.25 per session, payable termly:

“A few people have asked why I charge termly. Mostly it’s to recognise that pre-schoolers tend to respond well to a degree of familiarity and structure. Signing up for a whole term means that the children get to grow in confidence with the songs and the group so they can really get the most out of it.”

For siblings there is just a £2.50 sibling charge and siblings under 18 months go completely free.

The free Happy Hedgehogs taster session will be held at St Andrew’s Church on 21st October at 10 – 11am, with hot drinks included for parents and carers, plus a snack for children.

Charlotte is also happy to visit other playgroups in Bristol so as to give free Happy Hedgehogs tasters, so please do contact Charlotte if you would like to arrange this at a local playgroup that you visit.

If you would like to come along to the free Happy Hedgehogs taster session on Tuesday 21st October, or wish to sign up for a place at Happy Hedgehogs, please contact Charlotte to book a place via the following ways:

By email: happyhedgehogsbristol@gmail.com
Via the Happy Hedgehogs Bristol facebook page
By phone: 07825 345 109

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