PARENTS and children have celebrated five years of musical playtime in Oxfordshire.
Leena Thakker, mum to Anya, 12, and seven-year-old Alaina, took over the Musical Minis children’s business in 2009.
Mrs Thakker, 45, now runs 17 classes a week in village halls, nurseries and children’s centres across the county, singing songs and nursery rhymes with children up to five years old. They take place in Oxford, Chipping Norton, Bicester, Woodstock, Kidlington and Bloxham.
To celebrate the first five years of her business, Mrs Thakker ran a number of special events featuring favourite children’s characters Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam and Iggle Piggle.
Mrs Thakker said: “I couldn’t be more delighted. I wanted a business that I could fit in around my young family and Musical Minis gave me exactly that.
“I’d done my research, so I knew the franchise model worked, but I wasn’t prepared for how fast the business would grow.
“I was overwhelmed by the response I got, and it all grew from there. By my second term I was doing eight classes a week, and I got my my initial investment money back within the first year of trading.”
She added: “The last five years have flown by for me. It has been up and down but overall it’s been a fantastic business to own, which continues to generate good income for me and my family.”
Musical Minis was founded by child psychologist Karen Sherr in 1989. The programme is designed to help children’s cognitive development, including their language and coordination, through singing and dancing.
Mrs Thakker became involved with the programme when her daughters were toddlers.
She said: “I took both of my daughters to Musical Minis when they were younger, and I thought it was great for their development.”
When it became clear that someone needed to take over the business, Mrs Thakker stepped forward.
She said: “We focus on key areas, like confidence building, speech development and movement, and we work on things like listening and sharing.
“You can really see how they change during the classes.
“I’ve had children who, at the beginning, had lots of tantrums, and they gradually fell out of that.
“We teach them life skills. It stands them in good stead for when they start school.”
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