Thursday, April 12, 2012

Remembering the Early Learning Centre and the most popular kids toy of an era

Sad to read about the closure of more branches of the Early Learning Centre.  Almost thirty years ago, when our eldest was a toddler, a visit to the Early Learning Centre was a feature of the weekly visit to Brent Cross. In those days if you needed something you had to go out and get it. For her a trip to the Early Learning Centre meant she got to spend a few minutes in the Cozy Coupe, which was by far the most popular kid's toy at that time. The mere mention of the place had such a galvanising effect on her that we used to whisper out of the corner of our mouths about "the ELC". Still do in fact.

While we browsed the Ahlberg books or bought some felt tips, she had to wait her turn with the other youth for a quick spin round the shop. Getting her out of the vehicle was never easy. Years later we inherited our own Cozy Coupe from a friend. Can't tell you the hours, days and weeks of pleasure our kids and their friends got out of it. 


  1. When my kids were small, I'd take them into Exeter on a Saturday morning and we'd go into ELC. Our Price Records was just next door and once I left them playing in ELC while I nipped next door to have a quick browse. Got back five minutes later to find no sign of either of them. After 3 or 4 heart stopping moments they finally emerged from one of the play tents where they had been watching me panic.

  2. We've just had to buy our little one a Cozy Coupe. He's seen them at toddler groups and the childminders and always makes a beeline straight to them.

    I never realised they were quite that old.