Little Kickers, Peckham Rye

We once took one of our children to a Beavers class in Eltham. It was held in a small, battleship grey portacabin with bars on the windows. Oddly for a movement reputed for its woggle-fastening fastidiousness, the session was complete chaos.

As more and more six-year-olds piled in to the room, the Beaver Leader's response was to throw ever-larger numbers of balls and bats at the problem. It was half-an-hour of battle-royale that our six-year-old novice was ill-prepared for. As we left the class, we were told off by the most senior Beaver Leader for parking in the wrong place, violating an unwritten rule, which gives prime spots to the Beaverati.

Our first visit to Little Kickers - a company that runs football classes for 2-5 year-olds - was in stark contrast.

Classes are held in a community centre, set in the grounds of a small church, just off Peckham Rye. It is bright, light and well-loved. The class is planned and structured, with exercises that vary each week. Better still, they are delivered by three coaches who know what they're doing and seem to enjoy their job.

Ali G-accented Coach Dave is brilliant, controlling a class of 15-20 toddlers with good humour and bottomless patience. A short warm up is followed by exercises which help develop their balance, spatial awareness and ball control. This is interspersed with lots of running around and chasing after bright plastic cones. Every kid gets a turn to try each of the exercises, which means that patience is one of the qualities they learn first (in Brockley Central Junior's case, this was a lesson hard-learned).

While there is plenty of actual football involved, children don't have to be football fans to enjoy it and parents are encouraged to join in during free time, which means lots of enthusiastic dads demonstrating their flicks and back heels with miniature padded footballs.

Classes are held on Saturday mornings at St Peter with St Clements Church Hall, Friern Road, SE22. The price is roughly £7 per session. They are currently operating a short-waiting list.

Until recently, Little Kickers ran a class in Telegraph Hill, which apparently closed due to lack of demand, which is a great shame. If they ever think about bringing it back to the Brockley area, we heartily recommend that you give it a go.