Where are the best kids' ski schools?
"Well, Laura, what did you learn at ski school today?"

"Peanut butter, jolly. Peanut butter, jelly."

As she chants, my four-year-old is side-stepping across the living room. She has the technique off pat, with a suitably emphatic transfer of weight to the "uphill" ski. To her surprise, and mine, Laura has enjoyed her first day on skis. The ski school has given us a report card showing that she can slide down a gentle slope on two parallel skis ("French fries"), and that she is working on her snowplough ("pizza"). Yes, she is learning in the United States.

We had a contrasting experience with Alex, now seven, at the same age. The super-cool moniteurs of the Ecole du Ski Francais in Val d'Isere reduced Alex to tears and me to a rage with their incompetence and insensitivity. It led me to join the school of thought which favours keeping lowland children off the slopes until they can overcome the hurdle of inept teaching.

American resorts have a reputation for giving kids a good time, and Killington's success isn't confined to Laura; Alex was seriously resistant to the idea of ski school, but is an enthusiastic convert.

In a couple of days, we move to Smugglers' Notch, which has a reputation as the best kids' resort in the States. I had Laura booked for craftwork and sledding. I'd better call ahead to see if they can fit her into the adventure ski programme instead.

Operators to New England include Ski the American Dream (0181-552 1201), Virgin Ski (01293 617181) and Crystal Holidays (0181-399 5144); the latter has two-week holidays for pounds 449. Further advice: Discover New England, 01732 742777.