What is Littlemagictrain?
These days it is getting harder and harder for teachers to find the time to plan activities and we have created the ideal solution for you – Littlemagictrain
Littlemagictrain is a multi-sensory resource that uses movement, music, stories, and imagination, a bridge between the real and imaginary world, to engage your children so they are ready to learn and achieve.
Each adventure has illustrations and specifically composed music to move the story forward making it an ideal activity from the Early Years to KS1.
Just some of the learning outcomes
Speech, language, and communication skills
Personal and social development
Emotional regulation while building self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities
Knowledge and understanding of the world
Early science, technology, engineering, and math, STEM, and we help you put the A of creativity and imagination to turn STEM into STEAM.
But wait there is more
We have created Speech and Language, Sensory and Invitation, and Creative activities for each of the adventures.
To help you further, we also have additional learning activities for each adventure including vocabulary to help develop language and communication skills.
For you and your team
We don’t just give you the resource and walk away. We want you to be part of our family. A family that is supported every week with access to live online training, support clinics, WhatsApp group, and access 24hrs a day to online training videos linked to each section of the adventure. It is important to us that you, like your children, feel confident and see the benefit of the adventures for everyone.
Our Story – The Littlemagictrain Journey
The Birth: 2004 – 2010
During this time Gina met Jonathan Still and Daniel Jones the original masterminds behind the music and the Littlemagictrain was officially born in the spring of 2004!
Littlemagictrain has been tried and tested over the last 15 years through different venues and ways of delivering from managing classes to licensing (dance teachers/leisure centres/pre-schools and Butlins) with over 100,000+ children per year participating in classes.
However during this time the financial crisis had a major impact and changed Littlemagictrain forever.
Gina had reports from teachers that some children were being excluded from sessions and being made to sit on the side and watch the others.
Finding this hard to understand Gina visited a few settings and discovered that it was true as some parents were just unable to pay for any extras, quite understandable at this time of uncertainty, and the children were being made to sit and watch.
This horrified Gina who immediately decided to stop sessions in pre-schools and find a way of ensuring all children in a setting would be able to join in and never be excluded in that way.
‘The Break’: 2010 – 2012
Gina took a break from everything and tried to find the best way of emptying all the knowledge and sessions from her head into a resource pack whilst ensuring it was cost effective for settings.
The goal was to create a resource that anyone could just pick up and use. Gina wanted to do all the work so the practitioners could just enjoy the learning experience with the children.
It took a few mistakes along the way and then in February 2012 the first pack arrived from the printers.
The Resource Pack Pilot: 2012 – 2014
Now the work truly began convincing settings that they could deliver these sessions in house with their own staff. It took some time but the response was excellent along with the feedback.
There were requests for more sessions. Gina and Jonathan got back to work and this time a new mastermind Andrew Holdsworth came on board to help with the new tracks.
2014 – 2019
September 2014 saw the launch of the second pack at the Childcare Expo in Coventry with great success.
In 2016 Butlin’s asked Littlemagictrain to trial sessions as part of their new ‘Teeny tot’s’ concept as an extension of their ‘Just for Tot’s’ break.
This was very successful and Littlemagictrain has appeared every year since. In 2019 the sessions were developed further with Bonnie Bear appearing on stage with the Redcoats to join in the adventures.
2020 and Covid-19
This has been a difficult year but remember you can still take the children on the Littlemagictrain for fun adventures within your Covid secure bubbles. During lockdown Gina ran virtual sessions for nurseries in Bridgend and Swansea to help with training and to keep the children engaged during these difficult times.
Unfortunately, we are very sad that due to Covid-19, Littlemagictrain has currently been suspended at Butlin’s to ensure the safety of all their customers and staff while activities are reviewed. We are hoping, when things are safe, that Butlin’s will once again hop aboard the Littlemagictrain.
Post-Covid and we bounced back into Butlin’s ‘Just for Tot’s’ breaks with our new adventure ‘looking for pandas’. Littlemagictrain was so happy to be back with the amazing Redcoat’s.
In October Littlemagictrain hopped onboard a big plane to India to join up with Rudo, the giraffe, and the Little Buddy International Pre-school group. Together we are introducing children and nurseries to their very own Littlemagictrain.
During 2023 Littlemagictrain will be exclusively at Butlin’s on all their Showtime breaks on the fabulous Skyline Stage. Showtime breaks run throughout the year during term time.
Our Story – About Gina
Littlemagictrain is the brainchild of Gina Bale. Founded back in 2002, inspired by her young daughter and a love of trains instilled in Gina by her late uncle and grandfather.
Gina originally trained vocationally for a career in ballet at Bush Davies School and then Scapino Dans Academie in Amsterdam (known now as Dutch National Ballet Academy). Due to an injury, Gina could not fulfill this dream and at the time did not wish to attend the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague to train as a teacher.
Gina left the world of vocational ballet and spent a number of years doing different things ranging from Secretarial College, working with heads of Business and senior Civil Service to Pop Videos. After securing a place to read Law Gina was about to accept when, in an effort to get fit, she attended a ballet class at the Royal Academy of Dance HQ.
The teacher asked why Gina had not considered teaching and was offered a place on their teaching course a few months later. This was the start of 25 years plus of teaching dance – the best decision ever!
On graduation, Gina was awarded the Iris Truscott Bursary and attended a Special Education Needs training course specialising in dance at the LABAN Centre, London.
Gina worked in ballet schools gaining experience and then set up her own school The Southfields School of Ballet in South West London.
Very quickly the school acquired contracts in local nurseries and primary schools and this was how the seeds of Littlemagictrain were planted.Gina saw the need for something more than just music and movement sessions for pre-schoolers and started to think how you could engage young children to learn about the world around them through fun whilst keeping them fit and helping them build confidence in their abilities.
Gina piloted a few ideas but in 1999 she had to sell her school due to a very difficult pregnancy. However this break from teaching gave Gina the time to think about her ideas and the issues she had come across in Early Years Settings.
The early pilots (success and failures) of Littlemagictrain helped turn it into a multi-sensory learning experience.
Whilst developing ideas for sessions Gina worked on projects to fund and copyright her own baby Littlemagictrain© which was being designed specifically for Early Years:
- Set up the Cannons Dance School within the London Cannons Health Clubs and ACE Dance Academy for Holmes Place (Now Virgin Active) providing them with dance teachers and training them to deliver a pre-school dance programme.
- Created the Hi-5™ dance programme to run alongside the Australian Children’s TV programme – classes matched the programmes as aired in the UK.
- Created the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy for Hit Entertainment, which was part of the entertainment offering at Butlin’s and licensed to ballet teachers.
- Created a dance format for children to dance and participate in promotional events for Angelina Ballerina at: Harrods, Hamleys, Nick Jr in the Park events across the country. Joined forces with the Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation to provide dance classes in conjunction with Arts & Kids Week with Classic FM.
- Created a dance programme for ‘Florence Ballerina’ at Pontin’s Holiday Centres
Gina Bale holds the following qualifications in teaching movement:
- Royal Ballet School Diploma of Teaching Dance
- Trinity College Diploma of Dance Teaching and Learning (Children and Young Adults)
- Royal Academy of Dance Teaching Diploma (Grades and Majors)
- Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher Status (RTS)