I am writing a series about Slough todder playgroups, as my most clicked post is the one I wrote about Baby Groups in Slough. I am hoping this series will be useful to new parents who have just moved to the area, or for anyone who’s been a bit nervous to try a playgroup. Hopefully this will give you the reassurance that it is a fun, worthwhile activity. Last week I wrote about Trinity Tots on Wednesdays. This week I will tell you about our favourite playgroup called ‘Start the Week’ which runs on Monday mornings (term-time) at St. Mary’s Church.
St. Mary’s Church is just behind Slough High Street – where Starbucks is, you walk down Church Street and it’s past the public car park. There are other entrances from Albert Street and Windsor Road too. Now, I LOVE this group because it feels like home to me, It was the first playgroup I went to with Tyler when we had moved to this area 4 years ago. They were so welcoming in there, the mums really friendly and there were no cliques. I have made friends for life from this group. And it is just as welcoming today.
The group is run by Jean and a lovely group of volunteers. It costs £1, and they serve tea and coffee, squash for the kiddies, and Lily’s favourite thing – BISCUITS! She looks forward to the biscuits every Monday, heading straight for the counter when we come in. We then sit at the kiddies table and have a tea party, where she dunks her biscuits in my tea. The other toddlers alway amble over and join us. Yep, I am the tea party queen at this playgroup!
Here is Lily’s best friend, who you may remember from my Jelly Lounge post, pouring her a cup of tea. They have grown so much, these two.
There are loos and baby change at the front of the church, so you don’t have to worry about those nappy change emergencies. Also when you enter the church, there are ramps up the steps for getting your buggy in and out. All the buggies are parked behind the chairs as you enter the church.
St Mary’s Church is an absolutely beautiful space. In fact it has featured in a book about the best stained glass windows in London. I often sit and gaze at them while the children play. The area is set up in the space behind the main church bit, with chairs arranged along one side overlooking the play area. This is where you can sit and chat to other parents, whilst being able to keep an eye on your child. The other area that is good for chatting and making friends with other mums is at the playdoh table – you’ll often find me there. And also at the refreshments counter too. It’s just a friendly place!
But if you are not in the mood for chatting, that’s fine too. I like to play with the kids most of the time, I always have done. It is so much fun. Tea parties, playdoh, making traffic jams with toy cars, racing them down the ramp, playing with the little toy people and animals in the toy houses, building things out of toy bricks, driving trains on the wooden tracks. There is so much choice here. Tyler used to play with just the trains and cars, but Lily plays with everything. She loves the trampoline and slide, and the slide is actually good way for toddler to learn to line up and wait their turn. And if they want to slide down head first, that’s fine too hehe!
There are two ballpits, a dress-up box, ride-ons and toy pushchairs, dolls and dollies dress-up, a DIY station, toy kitchens with toy food and crockery. There are chalkboards and the playdoh table. There’s a baby area with baby bouncers and soft toys, so if you have a really young baby there is this space for them.
This playgroup starts at 9.30am, with the idea that you can come here straight from doing the school run if you have older kids. I usually get here at 9.15am and they don’t mind if you are a bit early. It’s so nice to have a cuppa here and wake up. And in the winter they have the heating on and it lovely to stand against the radiators, it feels so snuggly and warm.
At 10.40am we start clearing the toys away and between 10.45am and 11am they have a sing-song with the kids. Little chairs are set up in a circle on the mat, and it used to be Rachel who did the singing, but since her son started Reception she can’t anymore. So guess who does the singing now? Only ME and my friend Helen! We had a go this Monday and it was a laugh, I think the kids liked it. So yeah, if you fancy seeing me sing to a bunch of toddlers, do come along next time! We do all the classic rhymes – Wheels on the Bus, Wind the Bobbin Up, Old McDonald had a Farm, Sleeping Bunnies of course (Lily’s favourite), that turtle bubbles song, Twinkle Twinkle, Incy Wincy and If You’re Happy and you know it.
The group finishes at 11am, and then something really funny happens. I’ve witnessed it since I started coming here in 2014, and now our Lily takes part in it – rolling up the mat and carrying to the storage bit. The older toddlers have always gone nuts for doing this, they LOVE to help. It is cute and hilarious, and I think a tradition that will continue through all the future generations of toddlers!
After the playgroup has finished, as it in such a central location, you can easily have a wander around the shops if you want. I used to go to Starbucks with Tyler in the old days. With Lily we usually wander around Queensmere – she loves to go on the Peppa car ride and then walk around Primark. I love having a little girl that likes shopping haha.
Anyway, if you are looking for a baby/toddler activity on a Monday morning in Central Slough, do come along to this one, and tell your friends about it too. It is drop-in, no need to book, and you don’t have to come 9.30am on the dot, you can come a bit later if it suits you. Hopefully I’ll see you there one week!
Start the Week @ St Mary’s Church
Church Street, Slough SL1 1PJ
Mondays 9.30am – 11am (term-time only)