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The Secret Life of Children at Christmas TX: 17 Dec 2015, Week

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CHILDREN FROM THE ORIGINAL SECRET LIFE OF 4 YEAR OLDS

Cuba

Q: Who was Jesus?

A: Jesus isn’t real, so he was no-one

Cuba lives on a houseboat with his mum Heidi, an artist and his dad Baz, who works in specialist thermal road markings and is also a boxing trainer. Cuba has two sisters, Mia who’s 8 and Ellie who’s 27. The boat is currently in Hertfordshire but they like to move around.

He briefly attended mainstream school at reception age but found that there were too many rules and his parents felt it “crushed his spirit” so now he is autonomously home educated by Heidi. As she explains, this means that he’s allowed to follow whatever he’s interested in rather than a curriculum. His parents say he has a great imagination and at the moment he is interested in earthquakes and natural history. Cuba is fully vegan.

During auditions, Cuba sang a favourite song: ‘Three Little Birds’ and got to sing it in the performance too.

Cuba had very much wanted the role of Joseph, and was disappointed to get the donkey instead.

During the week, Cuba was often quite mischievous. He set his sights on making friends with well behaved Shakir, calling him his ‘best friend’. The scientists found this to be a very beneficial union for Cuba. He respected Shakir and listened to his opinions. Cuba was thrilled when Shakir received his Secret Santa present book of poems.

"He's a lovely little boy, very independent. He's his own person." – Cuba’s parents

Shakir

“I am Muslim but we still celebrate (Christmas) just for fun”

Thanks!

Shakir lives in Middlesex with his mum Sonya, a project manager and his dad, Taqi who is the CEO of a tour operator. He has a younger sister Alayna who’s 3.

Shakir has recently started to learn to play the trumpet which has been tough on the family! He and his family are Muslim and he has recently started to learn to pray and goes to the mosque. Shakir is turning into a studious child.

He started an unlikely friendship with Cuba, a friendship which the scientists found to be beneficial for both. He liked Cuba’s naughty side but was also very conscious of when Cuba went too far.

Shakir wanted to play a wise man and was pleased to get the part.

“He has a very nurturing side, but he also has a very dominant side”- Shakir’s father

Jayda

“I’m an artist at singing”

Jayda lives in London with her dad Jules, a location manager in film and her mum Paweena, who is currently a full time mum. Jayda now has a baby sister, Sophia, who is just two months old. Jayda loves being a big sister and was asking for a little sister for some time!

Jayda speaks Thai with her mum at home and they are keen she grows up bilingually.

Her parents say she is really sociable and has lots of friends at school, and always wants to help her friends out.

Jayda was given the role of narrator and also had her own solo too, singing Silent Night. She loves to sing and was often keen to demonstrate her vocal skills to the rest of the group.

During the week she showed great strength of character, she was not afraid to share her opinions.

"She knows more than me, and she's 6..." – Jayda’s dad.

Jessica

Q: “How do you think Mary felt when she was travelling all the way to Bethlehem?”

A: “Knackered?”

Jessica lives with her mum Natalie, a domestic cleaner and dad Steve, a paint sprayer, and brother Jake who’s 10.

Jessica has a big group of friends at school and her favourite lesson is maths.

Over the last two years, Jessica has grown in confidence. Although in the original Secret Life of 4 Year Olds Jessica was very shy and struggled to win Skyla as a friend, they have since become great friends and their relationship became more balanced.

However, she was still nervous in auditions, and took a while to gain the confidence to get up on stage and sing. When she did, her choice of song came as some surprise to the other children and teacher Kate.

In the nativity, she was chosen to play the sought after part of Mary, despite some tough competition.

"Jessica is caring, lovable, wants to learn, is out there and very energetic" – Jessica’s parents

Skyla

“I want to be an angel”

Skyla is an only child and lives with her mum and dad, Frank and Natasha, in South East London. Natasha is a choreographer and Frank is a creative performer. Skyla got a cat for her 6th birthday and adores it!

She attends several classes in the week including yoga, dance and gymnastics.

When we met her in the first programme she pushed Jessica away when Jessica wanted to be her friend but two years later, when they were reunited for the nativity, the two quickly bonded and became close friends.

Skyla was not happy about her allocated role of a Wise Man – she desperately wanted to be the Angel. However, she did play her role beautifully as a ‘Wise Queen’. Skyla took part in the auditions for the hotly contested solo of Away In A Manger and won the part.

Skyla is six and turns seven in June.

"She is full of beans, really bubbly...just a delight really." Skyla’s parents

Christian

“I don’t want wings”

Christian lives in South East London with mum Annette, a company director in the beauty industry and IT consultant dad, Trevor and his two sisters.

Christian's favourite subject is science and his mum thinks he will grow up to be an engineer.

Ever popular in the group, Christian is cast in the role of the Angel Gabriel (or Angel 'Nigel' as he was called in the children's version of the Nativity). At first Christian felt uncomfortable about this and asked if he would have to wear a dress. However, having been fitted with a state of the art pair of wings, he embraced the role in commanding fashion and performed beautifully.

Christian turns 7 in December.

"Christian is quite structured, meticulous and particular, he’s very polite and very generous." Christian’s mum, Annette

Oliver

Q: “What do you do if you get a present you don’t like?”

A: “Give it to my sister”

Oliver has a younger sister Miya, who is four and they live with their parents Deborah and Gareth in South East London. His mum is an investment banker and his dad is a currency trader.

He is really bright and sociable, and has a bit of a cheeky side. Oliver learns the guitar.

In the nativity, Oliver plays a wise man alongside Skyla and Shakir.

He turns seven next August.

Jasmin

“Boys can marry each other and girls can marry each other”

Since we saw her last, Jasmin has a little brother called Logan who is 8 months old. The family all live in Little Halinngbury. Jasmin’s father, Christian, is a Business Analyst and Emma is a Partnership Manager in the leisure industry.

Jasmin is a confident girl, who wanted to play the sought after role of Mary, but to her disappointment got the role of Shepherd alongside Luke.

Jasmin turned 6 in October.

Luke

Q: “Do you know what shepherd's do?”

A: "Did they make lasagne?"

Luke is one of four boys, and is the second youngest. His mum Kerri is a foster carer and his dad Steven is a police officer.

Luke’s home is always filled with friends and family and he loves watching cartoons.

He will turn seven in February.

Luke originally wanted to play Jesus in the nativity though this part wasn’t up for grabs, and alongside Jasmin, he played a shepherd. For his audition piece, he sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

SIX YEAR OLDS FROM THE SUMMER

CAITLYN

I've got a stable - take it or leave it! (Improvised line as the Innkeeper)

Caitlyn is a creative and feisty middle child. Her parents are separated and she lives in London with her Online Developer mum, Kylie and her brothers Eoghan (9 years old) and Malachy (4 years old). Her father Michael runs a chimney business.

She is six and three quarters, and will turn seven in April. Despite her petite size, Caitlyn is far from a shrinking violet.

In the nativity, Caitlyn was very confident at establishing herself within the new group, and was quick to stand up to the original pilot children calling them ‘the new girls’! Along with most of the girls, she wanted to be Mary, and was disappointed not to get the role. However, she performed her part as the innkeeper with gusto.

“She is happy to be the centre of attention, so she will make sure she is!” Kylie, Caitlyn’s mum

ELVIN

When I see girls all I think is, here we go again, marriage comes

Elvin is an only child and lives with his mum Caroline and Dad Samuel. Elvin’s dad is a physics and maths A-level tutor. He is a bright and chatty boy who is obsessed with trains and buses- and has visited the London transport museum eight times.

In the summer, Elvin emerged as a considered and natural leader, commanding respect from his peers. He has a very strong sense of morals and justice and impressed the scientists both during the summer and nativity with his sense of compassion and creative imagination.

He auditioned with a special dance and received the coveted role of narrator, which he shared with Jayda.

Elvin turns 7 in January 2016.

“He likes to be the leader and is a peacemaker” Caroline, Mum

ELOUISA

We don’t know if Angel Gabriel was a boy or a girl, and anyway, it doesn’t even matter

Elouisa lives in North London with her mum Anneliese, her Pastor dad, Ashley and her younger brothers; 5 year old Sebastian and 1 year old Leonardo.

She is 6 and a half.

Elouisa has a happy, outgoing and quirky personality and was popular with both the boys and the girls, and showed lots of imagination. She possesses good communication skills and demonstrated a greater social competence when dealing with her peers than might be expected from a child of her age. During her time within the group, Elouisa showed a good ability to understand others and often used humour and strategy to assert herself.

She wanted to play the part of Joseph – “because I’ve got long hair and the men in the olden days had long hair” Elouisa was thrilled to get the part and performed the role with confidence.

“I think she is very good at putting herself in other people’s shoes, she really thinks about what the other person might be thinking and feeling, she takes that right to heart.” Elouisa’s Parents

FIVE YEAR OLDS FROM THE SUMMER

Emily

I’ve only got one line… ‘baaa’

Emily lives with her mum Giselle and 19 year old brother Daniel in London. She and her proud grandmother Brenda have a very close relationship. Highly intelligent, Emily started speaking at the age of one.

She provided lots of laughter, imagination and kindness over the summer, and made friends with everyone there. Emily’s sense of humour and nurturing personality made her a popular member of the group. However, she had a particularly strong friendship with Alfie, based on their quirky imaginations and games. Alfie even told Emily he loved her, and they missed each other hugely during their break from the play centre.

This friendship was rekindled immediately upon meeting during the nativity week and they celebrated their reunion with a new game of ‘bouncing on the sofa’.

Emily was anxious and worried about taking part in the play – feeling shy and not wanting to be the centre of attention and go on stage: ‘I get shy and do weird things’. Alfie comforted her and reassured her, exclaiming ‘I’ll look after you’

Emily will turn 6 in January 2016.

“Sometimes we describe her as a little old lady.” Emily’s Mum.

ALFIE

Emily!! I’m so excited to see you!

Alfie is the oldest of two and lives in Somerset with Mum, Zoë, Dad, Kev and baby sister Daisy. Zoë is a homeopath and Dad is a teacher.

He turns 6 in December.

During filming in the Summer, he impressed the scientists with his creativity and humour, finding it easy to make friends with both boys and girls. He also impressed them with his recall of scientific facts.

Alfie was absolutely delighted to be reunited with his friend Emily and together they were allocated roles as sheep in the play. Alfie goes out of his way to help Emily with her stage fright, wiping away her tears and reassuring her: ‘You’ll be with me, I’m your best friend’

"He's like the robot from Short Circuit. He's like Johnny 5. He needs input all the time. His first word was ‘more’." Alfie's parents.

FOUR YEAR OLDS FROM THE SUMMER

TIA

I don't want to see the elves because I'll kick them in the head...I don't like elves.

Tia lives in Kent with her mum Cheryl, a manager of a bookmakers, and dad Glenn who works in waste management. She has a baby sister Amelia-Rose and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Princess. In her free time, she attends classes in ballet, pop dance, swimming and drama.

Tia turned 5 at the end of September, this year.

She has amazing social skills and a very strong sense of morality and justice, and expressed her ideas on this and other topics very clearly.

During the nativity, Tia played an angel alongside other four year-olds Taylor and Theo. She took the lead role and was keen to encourage them to practice their song. In addition to an angel, Tia was also a cow and was excited by both roles, and in particular being the first on stage.

“Sometimes you feel she’s the parent... you have to remind yourself she’s just a 4 year old… she tries to set the rules but is happy to break them herself” - Cheryl, Tia’s mum.

THEO

“God is love”

Theo is an only child who lives in Surrey with New Zealander parents Lisa and Freddie and is Steiner educated. Lisa is a company director and Freddie a project manager. Theo will turn 5 in December this year.

Theo is thoughtful and imaginative, and develops strong and special friendships at the play centre, with both boys and girls. He delights in making others laugh. He’s also a loyal boy, and makes a beeline for Tyler early on, and he won’t rest until their friendship is cemented!

For the nativity he was allocated the dual role of an Angel and North Star and enjoyed both roles.

“Astrologically he’s a tiger… he’s a very brave little boy… he’s got an old spirit in a young body” - Lisa and Freddie, Theo’s parents.

TAYLOR

“God and Santa Claus have special eyes”

Taylor lives in Manchester with his PE Coach Mum Katie and his Dad, Dave, who runs a bouncy castle business. He has a younger sister called Madison, aged 2.

He is one of the oldest in the group.

During the summer, Taylor was the social glue in the group - but showed distinctly more interest in spending time with the girls. A born performer, he loves meeting new people and hates to see another child in distress.

Taylor loves to perform and very much enjoyed both his roles (Angel and penguin)

"He's very cheeky but sensitive at the same time, if he sees someone crying he'll go and see if they're alright." - Katie, Taylor's Mum.

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