CELEBRATING a 40th Birthday in a sunny playground was a very different way to spend a Saturday.
There were many fun-filled preparations taking place at the premises of St Padarn’s school, and the commitment of the St Padarn’s’ playgroup was being demostrated to its fullest. Forty years of unique, fun, and beneficial childcare was celebrated within the community.
Situated on Llanbadarn R oad, Aberystwyth, St Padarn’s Playgroup has established itself as a charity which provides excellent childcare with a special emphasis on education. Through the medium of English and Welsh, the Playgroup gives children a fun experience while they learn through interactive planned activities and free play.
Run by an elected committee of parents, the Playgroup is fully insured through the Wales Pre-School Playgroup Association and also offers an after-school care for St Padarn’s School pupils on the same premises.
The Playgroup also have the policy of allowing parents of current pupils to automatically become members of the charity that run the playgroup, and encourage all parents to get involved in any way they can.
The community atmosphere was tangible even before the event had begun, the many young families helping to set up for this important day. Putting an emphasis on fun activities for children is one of the core principles of the Playgroup and continued with the children at the event having had the opportunity to enjoy various happenings such as face painting, Arts and Crafts and a cake competition stall.
While the children had the freedom to alternate between playing with toys scattered along the ground or on the wooden playground equipment, the parents showed their support by assisting with the raffle and the food stall.
With contemporary music playing throughout event, there was a special live performance from singer songwriter Callum Duell, entertainment from the Pied Piper and a petting corner, courtesy of Pets at Home in Aberystwyth.
Amber Walker, member of the Playgroup PTA and parent said: “The Playgroup has never felt like a Playgroup, but an education. The cake stall competition and the event itself is a wonderful way to get the children involved”
Committee-Secretary of the St Padarn’s Playgroup, Lisa Jones-Evans further explained while helping with the raffle stall: “My child has been in the playgroup for two years and absolutely loves it”.
The Organisers of the event warmly welcomed present nursery children, staff and committee member to the celebrations. Among them was Kath Philips, the playgroups’ longest serving Manager for 27 years, former Playgroup leader Maureen Gallop, former one to one assistant Margaret Evans and the former Playgroup Treasurer.
Speaking of her previous role and how the Playgroup formed, Kath explained: “The ethos of the Playgroup changed after a while and focused on navigating towards working parents. The Playgroup thrived and was all about having fun. We were forever having parties”
Sitting looking at old photos from 1982-1983 with the group gave a great sense of nostalgia and how the Playgroup formed into a highly affordable and well thought of childcare group under Kath’s leadership: a fantastic way to ensure that children were well looked after and well educated outside of the home.
Leontia Slay, one of the co-founders of the Playgroup, began a child care service in an old Catholic hall in Aberystwyth.
“The Playgroup came from nothing and was so simple when it began. Then it exploded into something special.”
The event included a tour around the Playgroup facilities by current playgroup manager of three years, Eleri Barker. Showing me and former staff of the Playgroup around the outdoor facilities, she explained: “Part of the children’s education at the Playgroup is the gardening. We’ve had a Lottery Grant this year for £5000, and we also relied on sustainability grants to do what we want to do.
“The children enjoy growing a garden and they have a mud garden, a kitchen to play in, a musical stand and a construction corner. We were also very fortunate that Mount Trading in Aberystwyth were able to give us gravel for the garden.
“The children have a sensory garden where they have a little shed to grow runner beans, black currents, blueberries, lettuces and potatoes.”
Discussing the developments of teaching methods over the years while in the Playgroup classroom, Eleri told The Herald: “The class should be open access all the time, with the castle in the corner and the three little pigs display. The committee are good at looking at what we need and there are always ways for everyone and anyone to fit in”
Pointing to a decoration hanging from the ceiling, she explained that they once built an igloo out of milk cartons and the children loved the bubble wrap icicles hanging from the ceiling so much, they wanted to leave them there.
The event concluded with a presentation and a birthday cake for the Playgroup in celebration of the high quality childcare and education that it continues to provide.
Lecture considers the future of war
INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).
Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.
In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.
He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?
Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”
The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.
Youth Service invited to international training event
TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.
‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.
Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education, said: “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.
“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!”
Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.
Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said: “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”
Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker added: “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”
Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”
Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds
ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.
Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.
Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.
CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.
Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.
On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.
Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.
The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.
Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.
Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.
Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.
Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.
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