I always thought I’d never be one of those mums, rushing from one school sport activity to another.
And yet, here I am. From basketball to footy, my seven-year-old twin sons like to put up their hand for everything under the sun.
Unfortunately, this has meant sometimes homework has been shunted to the side — by the kids and me.
Personalised school tutoring
Enter Cluey Learning, which provides online, face-to-face schoolwork support for those in years 2 to 12.
Forget dashing from school to a tutoring centre or frantically tidying up your abode before a tutor arrives. All the learning happens online via an interactive platform in the comfort of your own home. Yay.
Online face-to-face schoolwork support
There’s still a real tutor talking with your kiddo ‘live’, in real-time; it’s just done via video, audio, and a collaborative whiteboard. All your child needs to attend is a laptop or desktop computer with a mike and camera. (Each one-hour session is recorded too, so it can be reviewed at any time.)
Recently, I had a parent-teacher interview, which revealed one son, Alessio, could improve in a particular area: his sentence structure. So, I nominated him for a few tutoring sessions. It was easy-peasy, providing his available times via the online hub. Then, he was matched with a tutor. (Most students tutor weekly.)
Mapped to the national curriculum
For Years 2-6, the tutoring programs are in Maths and English, mapped to the national curriculum (catering for state-by-state variations), and are tailored to your littlie’s specific goals.
For the first session, I looked over Alessio’s shoulder throughout, although this is unnecessary. An education team regularly reviews the sessions to continuously improve your child’s learning experience. Which means you can use the time instead to finish that conference call, attend to your inbox, or whatever else needs doing!
Building on classwork
Unlike with Zoom calls, the video on Cluey isn’t too distracting as the student and tutor appear in little boxes at the top of the screen. The rest is taken up by ever-changing, colourful illustrations and text. The students use computer tools to write onscreen, circle words, and more — no pen or paper required.
Alessio’s tutor, Amanda, was super-friendly and patient, and nicely, we could book her each time. Under her guidance, Alessio did everything from read books out loud to use adjectives to describe a nature scene.
At the end of each session, a progress report is provided. For Alessio’s first one, the tutor’s feedback read:
“Today Alessio demonstrated excellent reading ability, in both decoding (reading aloud) and comprehension. There were occasions where he needed to refer back to a text to find an answer, however, at his level, this is okay.
His writing is also good, although he does need to remember to use punctuation and capitals correctly. I would also like to see him writing a full piece, which was not an option in today’s activity. (Today he had to write sentences about a picture.)
His knowledge of grammar and language conventions is also exceptional, although we will work on his identification of different text types. Well done, Alessio, on a great first session!”
For Alessio’s own feedback, he hit the “fun!” emoji. He also told me: “I liked the comprehension, reading, everything! It was better than school because we got to go on the computer and type. It was great. And the tools are cool to use.”
Catch up, keep up or excel – from the comfort of your own home
As a parent, I found the sessions great for seeing where Alessio’s learning is at. Extracting information from my kids about what they’re learning at school can be hard-going, so this was a good way to see him put into practice what he knows.
Not being a teacher myself, I was also more than happy to have his studies steered by a professional. There’s a reason they say it takes a village to raise a child. And, if it gives your kiddo an extra edge at school, and boosts their confidence, even better!
What I love about Cluey:
Tutors can help kids catch up, keep up or excel from the comfort of their own home.
Most students do tutoring sessions weekly, so it’s not a huge commitment.
It’s perfect for time-poor parents, who need an extra hand for their child’s schoolwork support.
The virtual learning platform is eye-catching, colourful, and engaging.
Cluey uses a personalised approach, allowing your kiddo to learn at their own speed. Small groups can also be catered for.
Managing your enrolment is a cinch via the online hub, whether you want to move or skip a session, permanently change your schedule, or provide feedback.
It’s still face-to-face learning, just using video, audio, and an interactive virtual whiteboard.
At the start of each session, the tutors and students set learning goals.
You can stay updated on your kiddo’s learning as Cluey provides regular progress reports. No need to look over their shoulder throughout!
Been a while between kids’ theatre shows for you, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions? This gorgeous, funny show, featuring a hiccupping koala and a magical set, is a fab way to get back into the theatrical swing of things.
The Windmill Theatre Co production, Hiccup!, has been created for kiddos, aged four to eight, by South Australian artists Jude Henshall and Ellen Steele.
It follows protagonist Eddie (played by Adelaide stage favourite Nathan O’Keefe), who heads to the Outback with his teddy bear, Lucky, to escape the city hustle and bustle. (The holiday vibe is timely for those hitting the road these school hols…)
Eddie’s mission? To finally get a good night’s sleep, away from all the city hubbub.
As he dozes off in his tent, though, he’s awoken by a cacophony coming from the trees. Eddie braves stepping out to see what’s going on and discovers a cheeky quokka (with puppetry by Chiara Gabrielli) and an inventive emu (also O’Keefe) lurking around his campsite.
But the ear-shattering noise is coming from elsewhere. The culprit’s a koala (with puppetry by Lachlan Micklethwait) who’s had hiccups for a staggering 267 days. This spurs the group on an epic journey to find a hiccup cure for the poor koala before sunrise.
On the show’s inspiration, writer and co-director Jude Henshall says: “In 2015, I toured to New York with Windmill’s Pinocchio. While I was there, I visited the Jim Henson exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image. The Muppets have always been a huge inspiration for us, and with Hiccup!, we really hope to bring that subversive technicolour silliness to the stage in our own Australian way.”
Indeed, they have.
The set is a pastel-coloured dream, featuring oversized paper fans for foliage, stripey Easter egg-style rocks, and a big crescent moon. The expert lighting helps to create such whimsical effects as a starry night, shadow play in the tent, and glow-in-the-dark possums hanging from a tree. The costumes also add to the fun, including Eddie’s getup of gym shorts, leg warmers, sandals, and a space age-style silver puffer.
Some adult humour is interspersed with the fart jokes and other kid fun – like when Eddie hikes onto the stage with an oversized backpack, then bleeps the immobiliser of a car offstage. The tunes during the 45-minute extravaganza are also catchy and non-irritating.
The show has a good message, too, about working together and being a good friend. The others don’t desert the koala when he says: “I’m just a big, hiccupy pain in the bum. You’d be better off without me.”
There’s also a lesson about ‘grass is greener syndrome’… While the quokka and emu are lured by the idea of finding more ‘shiny, metallic things’ in the city, the sleep-deprived camper craves the silence of the Outback.
This is one case of the hiccups you’ll actually want to be near! Don’t miss the world-first run of this show.
Please note: In line with current direction from SA Health, this event is sold at 100%, and as a result, all patrons aged 12 and over must wear a face mask for the duration of the performance. If you don’t have a mask to wear, front-of-house staff can provide one.
Recommended for ages 4-8. Contains loud noises, strobe effects, and theatrical haze.
Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Festival Drive, Adelaide SA
If you’ve ever been to a cricket or footy game at Adelaide Oval, you would’ve undoubtedly experienced the stadium elbow-to-elbow with thousands of others.
But doing a stadium tour, as I discovered – when the place has emptied of punters – is the best way to fully appreciate the jaw-dropping magnificence that is Adelaide Oval.
Even better, you get to visit a number of areas that are usually inaccessible to the average person.
Adelaide Oval Guided Walking Tours
The 90-minute guided walking tours are led by expert volunteers, who’ll happily answer all your questions like: “How do they mow the stripes on the oval?” I recently joined a tour with my two footy-mad sons and husband. (Family packages are available.)
Being a working stadium, no two tours are ever the same as access and weather conditions can vary. However, some highlights during our tour included:
Checking out the exclusive Triple M Bunker, where punters usually pay a premium to have viewing access into the footy players’ rooms during games via one-way glass
Running onto the oval to a spinetingling soundscape, emulating the roar of a 50,000-strong crowd
Peeking inside the players’ change-rooms – including seeing the cricketers’ ice bath – and inside the glassy media centre
Experiencing what it’s like to sit on the footy interchange benches
Getting up-close and personal with the Sheffield Shield, which comprises real gold and silver, in a special room, and
Enjoying the bird’s-eye view from the top of the Riverbank Stand, where we could even see those braving the RoofClimb traversing the stadium’s sails.
During the tour, we also learned all about the oval’s heritage, which dates back to 1871. Including that the Moreton Bay fig trees at the northern end were planted in 1882 to block the view of those spectating for free from Montefiore Hill. And that the grassy northern mound, dubbed ‘The Hill’, was created in 1898 from earth dug out and carried from the banks of the River Torrens.
We also got to see how the creeper covered-brick archways from the original members’ stand have been blended seamlessly with the recent radical renovations.
The Heritage Listed Scoreboard
But the crème de la crème was getting to climb the stairs to the 1911 heritage-listed scoreboard. The manually operated display, which sits alongside a massive digital one, operates over four storeys and represents significant innovation in the match information it provides. It’s wonderful that the iconic scoreboard is still used, in the same way, to this very day. You’re truly stepping inside living history.
As a not-to-be-missed school holiday adventure, or birthday ‘experience’ gift for your sporty kiddo, our family highly recommend seizing the chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ at Adelaide Oval. It’s something every South Aussie should experience at least once in their lifetime.
ADELAIDE OVAL STADIUM TOUR
Venue: Adelaide Oval, War Memorial Drive, North Adelaide SA
One Sex and the City episode that sticks out in my mind is when Carrie tries out the fitness craze, trapeze—for Vogue, natch. (It’s cool to talk about SATC again, with the reboot confirmed, right? Right?)
Anyway, I couldn’t help but wonder—sorry, Carrie-ism!—what it might be like to try something like that myself in future.
Enter my mum friend, Amanda Cartwright, from creative studio Bird Circus. She’d got twitchy watching her little one do circus classes at CircoBats. So, decided to throw her hat in the circus ring herself, signing up for an adult class. After I’d mentioned I was looking for a fitness session that was more fun than the gym, she convinced me to give it a try.
(For the uninitiated, CircoBats is a not-for-profit organisation, founded by the late Franky Charman-Green—an esteemed figure in the Adelaide circus community. His daughters remain heavily involved.)
But back to the class … The website’s wording, ensuring that it was for “adults of all ages and abilities” and had “no prerequisites”, helped me hit ‘enrol’. All well and good from the comfort of my home. Then came turning up to class…
When I arrived, I discovered there was quite a contingent of mums (yay). After a warmup, it was onto practicing handstands and cartwheels.
Yes, handstands and cartwheels, IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY.
It’s been a long time between such things for me, and my parents never coughed up for dance classes in my youth. So, I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I gave it my best. Some attendees could actually do things like walk on their hands for metres and do elbow cartwheels. (Later, I discovered a few were part of CircoBats’ Performance Troupe. That thing about “all abilities” being in the class. But the members truly are supportive, whatever level you’re at.)
After this, we moved onto the mini tramp. Here, I got dizzy doing forward rolls while others performed backflips and the like. Next came attempting maneouvres on the colourful aerial silks.
The 90-minute sweatathon rounded out with hula-hooping. This was where I felt most comfortable, being ground-based and less ‘on show’. Then we cooled down with a few stretches, with several participants sliding into the splits. (One can only dream!)
I left the class, still feeling slightly daunted but exhilarated. I’d survived! And I knew my body would thank me for working muscles I hadn’t in a while.
My twin sons have already begged to join a youth class next term. As for me? A return’s dependent on just how brave I am.
Presented by The South Australian Children’s Ballet Company
When Sebastian the crab sang “Darling it’s better under the sea’ in the Disney movie version of The Little Mermaid, you could be forgiven for thinking he was referring to The Little Mermaid ballet, presented by The South Australian Children’s Ballet Company… because wonderful things certainly surrounded us on the ocean floor at Star Theatre One in the SACBC Fringe performance of the show for the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Adapted from the beloved Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale version of The Little Mermaid, from the minute the curtain raised at the Star, the audience of young theatre goers (and their adults!) was taken on a journey from the depths of the ocean floor to the opulent royal palace and beyond.
Anyone with children (or who was once a child themselves) will be familiar with the storyline; young Ariel (played by Heather Benn), a whimsical mermaid harbouring a fascination with dry land, falls in love with the handsome Prince Eric (Thomas Hall) when she spots him and his crew sailing the deep oceans. The evil sea witch, Ursula (Lexi Hopkins) uses the opportunity to make a cruel deal with Ariel – offering her legs in exchange for her voice, and three days to seal her fate with true loves kiss by sunset.
In order to make the ballet accessible for even the smallest audience members, the story is narrated by The Spirit of the Sea (Erihana Winsor) – who navigates the ocean floor in a killer pair of heels (!!) outlining the major plot points, seamlessly piecing each scene together with the rest of the story being told through the magic of dance.
Stand out moments in the show, which was choreographed by Paul Boyd, with Beverley Waters on board for Artistic Direction, were the underwater scenes performed by the ensemble cast of sea creatures, big and small – including the cutest crab you’ve ever seen! The costuming here was a triumph in and of itself, with all the bright hued Disney-esque jollity you would hope to see in a performance of The Little Mermaid for kids, and absolute commitment of the dancers to their “fish faces”; these fun glimpses into the underwater world were a joy to watch and the audience was in deep!
You could be forgiven for thinking the dancers, who vary in age between 10 and 19, were seasoned professionals with decades of experience on the stage. A lot of commitment and dedication has clearly gone into learning and perfecting the roles, with nary a single break in character or discernible misstep made, and the onstage flirtation between Ariel and Eric believable enough to make my 6 year old daughter blush! Hopkins rendition of Ursula, the Sea Witch was an absolute standout, and props must go to Gideon Milllar, the young First Mate, who put a spring into every step he danced.
Unsurprisingly, the SACBC had to put on an extra showing of The Little Mermaid this Fringe season, due to popular demand, and this amateur theatre goer can see why, the performance was magical from start to FINish!
If you’re after an affordable, engaging excuse to go to the Fringe with your little tyke then Bubba-licious could be exactly what you’re after.
Kat and her assistants put on an energetic performance complete with shadow puppets, lights and music. Sing-a-longs include familiar tunes like Twinkle Twinkle and Incy Wincy Spider, and incorporate themed props.
Throw into the mix a few songs which, although unfamiliar, are performed with just as much enthusiasm (and some pretty cool light up costumes!) and you have a performance that most toddlers would stare at in amazement (mine did!)
It’s simply put together, and you’ll have your little one on your lap, but for a perfectly timed 30 minutes of your day, they’ll be bopping, clapping or eyes-wide with wonder and you can sit back and enjoy, knowing you’re in a child friendly environment around other parents.
With a bit of comedy, lots of singing and some crazy dance moves, Bubba-licious is a show made for toddlers by a mum who knows what they’re all about. Top it off with a lovely stroll in the gardens afterwards and you’ve got yourself a day well spent!
Dates: Sat 20 Mar – Sun 21 Mar: 11am, 11:45am Venue: Ukiyo at Gluttony