Baby groups in running for national accolade

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THREE toddler and baby groups in the borough have been nominated for a national award.

Monkseaton’s Messy Monkeys, Killingworth’s Squiggles and Giggles and Piccolo Music in Cullercoats are all in the running to pick up a top prize from the UK’s biggest parenting website, Netmums.com

All three have been nominated in the favourite pre-school class category and are now appealing for votes.

Helen Symonds, co-founder, with Karen Chapman, of Messy Monkeys, said: “It’s a fantastic fact that some of our ‘monkeys’ have been coming to the classes for more than half of their lives.

“We get consistently positive feedback.”

Squiggles N Giggles, run by mum Suzanne Thomson, sees babies and children learning though messy, creative and sensory play.

Suzanne said: “Squiggles N Giggles has been open for just under a year, and some families who attended the open day in July last year are still coming with their little ones.

“Parents always tell me how much their children enjoy the opportunity to learn through play in such a unique venue.

“I’m so excited about this nomination. It’s a badge of quality.”

The Piccolo Music group, run for the last 12 years by Cullercoats businesswomen Abi Cotton and Anna Scantlebury, holds music-making sessions for families with small children.

Anna said: “Families love the chance to sing and enjoy making music together, and we’re frequently told it’s their favourite thing to do – sing piccolo songs, be in the band and really get stuck into making music.”

Last year, more than a million mothers cast votes for the awards.

Voting is open until Sunday, June 17, and the winners will be announced on Thursday, June 21.

To cast your vote, visit www.netmums.com/tyneside/places-to-go/ preschool-classes/vote-for-your- favourite-preschool-class