Learn about Jo Jingles, the Leading pre-school music and singing club with an educational slant.
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Nina Sebastine: Every parent knows how important the early stages of development on a child's life. One company that set out to offer stimulation to little ones in a slightly unusual manner is Jo Jingles, set up by Gill Thomas in 1991. Jo Jingles provides fun, music, and movement classes for babies and young children in over 500 centers around the UK. It's also an interesting business or opportunity for parents. Joining me now on the studio is managing director Gill Thomas. Gill, welcome to the show. Gill Thomas: Hello Nina. Nina Sebastine: So how did you set it up in the first place? What's it all about? Gill Thomas: Well, I was looking for something to do with my two young girls when they were preschoolers and there was very, very little in the local area. So I decided to invite some of my NCT friends along and started a little music group with some instruments. That's really how it started. Nina Sebastine: So from the front room it started? Gill Thomas: Not quite the front room but we started in a small hall and then we got into a bigger hall. Then I had to start running more classes as the demand picked up. The Mother Network kicked in and mothers told other mothers and friends told other friends. Before very long, it was a really thriving little business. Nina Sebastine: What are the classes all about? What happens in a class? Gill Thomas: Well, the prime aim of the classes is to be fun for the children but we try our Jo Jingles to introduce an element of learning through play and through fun. But everything we do is based on musical activities. So in each action of any one week program, we would have some singing, we would have some action songs, we would have some musical movement, we play at least two musical instruments each week. We have story time, listening time, little sound games, rhythm games. Nina Sebastine: Great. Do parents get involved as well? Is this interactive? Gill Thomas: Very much so. Jo Jingles is all about interaction between parent and child, it's very much active listening, and active involvement from the parent as well. Nina Sebastine: Okay. I mean I know myself having a little one at home, it can be so difficult to organize entertaining time at home. Sometimes you are desperate to get out of the house and take them somewhere else instead of have a couple of hours somewhere else. Do you find that you get lots of parents saying to you, oh thank god, I've got here to come every Tuesday or every Wednesday, whatever? Gill Thomas: It comes not just from the parents, it comes from the children as well. Nina Sebastine: They are desperate to get out as well. Gill Thomas: Yeah. The parents actually say to us, the children ask when they are old enough to speak, they are actually asking, is it Jo Jingles today? So they know when they are coming and they really look forward to it. Nina Sebastine: Now what ages do you take in from? Gill Thomas: We start them at six months and we split our classes into age specific groups so that they are all of the same physical development and ability together. So we start six months to walking, walking to two years, 2-3 years, and 3-5 years. In certain cases, we will take them higher than five, we go up to seven years of age. Nina Sebastine: And you can get classes all over the country? Gill Thomas: Pretty much so. We are the leading national music group in both England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland now. Nina Sebastine: So what does a class cost? Gill Thomas: On average, it cost about 3.75-4.00 pounds. It deepens really upon the price of the venue for the franchise, who is running the classes, and also the region where they are operating from, but about 3.75. Nina Sebastine: Okay. Can people come and have a look, have a go to class before committing to say, a course of class, how does it work? Gill Thomas: Yes, in certain cases, they can do that. But I have to say that in an awful lot of our schools, our local venues, we have waiting lists. Therefore, a franchise will t