Our Mini Mumbler and her journey with PQA (Pauline Quirke Academy)
Giving her the choice
As parents, we all have ideas about the things we might like our Mini Mumblers to do or what they might be good at: swimming, dancing, martial arts etc. It was important to us that we didn’t push our 5 year old into anything and remained adamant that the choice had to be hers. Over a few months, we decided to let her try out a wide range of activities, one of which was a free trial at PQA. Each activity we thought she would be bursting to attend again, but after a day or two, she never mentioned them (much to our surprise). That said, out of all the activities she tried, the one thing she repeatedly asked me was ‘Mummy, when do I get to go back to the place with the black uniform, I liked it there?’ I knew immediately she was talking about PQA. Convinced that this was the place for her, we contacted the Principal James and signed her up.
When we sat her down to tell her she would finally be starting there, she was shaking with excitement. This can be seen here when she received her free PQA T-shirt (aka the black uniform) in the post.
When we arrived for her first class, we were greeted by James and the team who immediately made us all feel welcome. We walked through to the common room and the atmosphere was wonderful, there were musical theatre songs playing in the background and groups of children all sat around chatting, laughing and playing. It was so clear to see how much many of these children clearly love their Saturday afternoons at PQA and how the friends and teachers they meet here become more like family.
The afternoon began with a class assembly where the children were broken down into groups and their class teacher explained what they would be doing. James welcomed all the new starters which immediately made our Mini Mumbler feel settled. After assembly, off they went to begin their class. With our Mini Mumbler being under 6, the session was for 1.5 hrs, however after Christmas when she is 6, she will stay for the whole afternoon which is 3 hours. While she went off to class, James gave myself and two other parents a tour of all the classes, explaining the difference in them all. What we love is the variety that PQA brings. Throughout the afternoon students rotate around different disciplines, giving them an action packed session and lots of choice in order to discover their real passions.
At the end of the session, we were invited to watch the children do a little performance for us, demonstrating what they had learnt. We received a wonderful rendition of ‘Under the Sea’ from The Little Mermaid and watched the presentation as the teachers ‘Poppet of the Week’ was given a certificate and Quirky the PQA bear mascot to take home for the week. When we got in the car we asked our Mini Mumbler if she had enjoyed it; she explained she had loved it and asked when she could go again. This new love was confirmed to me when later in the week I heard her shouting ‘Alexa! Play Under the Sea’. When I went upstairs, there she was practicing all the moves she had learnt at PQA in the mirror.
The following Saturday she was so excited to return and was already quoting the names of all the children in her class she was looking forward to seeing. When we arrived to collect her, she was beaming from ear to ear as she had received ‘Poppet of the Week’. Quirky spent all this week at home with us doing lots of fun things and joining in our adventures. My favourite scene was our Mini Mumbler putting him in hold while she partnered him for Saturday night’s Strictly Come Dancing.
We cannot recommended PQA enough. We have never seen our Mini Mumbler so happy to go somewhere. The teachers (all made up of professionals working in the business) demonstrate endless passion and enthusiasm for the arts. Will our little one become an amazing dancer, actor, singer? Who knows and to be honest, we really don’t care. What matters to us the most is she is doing something she loves. PQA has endless potential to enable children to explore and develop their skills within the arts, but what it also does, which we love, is provide a warm and welcoming environment, where children learn to play, meet new friends, build confidence and self-esteem. PQA’s moto ‘BE YOURSELF, BE AMAZING’ demonstrates their commitment to inclusivity, to valuing each and every child as an individual and we can’t thank them enough for welcoming us so warmly into their little family.
If you’d like your Mini Mumbler to give it a go, you can try out one of their classes free of charge.
For more information regarding all of their classes, you can read more here.