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THEY say you should never work with children or animals - so four-year-olds and creepy crawlies should be a definite no-no.

But the staff at Newcastle Centre for Life threw caution to the wind yesterday to stage a pre-school animals day.

The event aimed to introduce children of four and under to a whole host of creatures that are far from your average family pet.

The mini-beast handling session saw the youngsters, quite literally, getting to grips with a tarantula, a giant millipede, stick insects and hissing cockroaches. The event was the latest in a series of pre-school days which hope to inspire curiosity in young children, especially around science subjects.

The centre's "science explainers" were on-hand throughout the day to answer any questions and educate the young visitors.

Elin Roberts, head of public engagement at Life, said: "It's a great opportunity for the children to explore - something they naturally love to do.

"With the insects, we find it is the children who are keen to handle them, while the parents tend to be more afraid.

"The pre-school days are becoming increasingly popular. "The word is definitely spreading and we often get the same families back time and time again."

As well as meeting the creatures, the children got to experience an Animals on Ice presentation, which explained how far a little bird, the Arctic tern, travels every year from the North to the South Pole and the animals it is likely to share the ice with, including polar bears and penguins.

The youngsters could also join in the piccolo music workshops, which involved learning animal-themed songs.

For families who missed this event, other preschool days will be staged on March 2 and May 4. For more information, call the Centre for Life on 0191 243 8223 or log on to


HERE'S LOOKIN' AT YOU KID: Robyn Vine studies a land snail YEUK: Otis Mills above with a milipede and Charlie Bol and mum Jane with a tarantula FURRY FUN: Ella Ecclestone, three, of Gosforth gets to know a gerbil during the sesion at the Centre for Life
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 20, 2010
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