I have a wide experience of nurturing children’s creative opportunities and demonstrating creative approaches especially in early learning.
I draw much of my inspiration from the Reggio Emilia ethos and the approach of educators in Scandinavia.
A lot of the work I do is based in the outdoor environment, which can also mean looking at how to bring the outside back inside the classroom. I introduce children to a wide range of natural and recycled materials and resources, working with them to support their ideas and interests.
I am interested in engaging children in the challenges and wonders of the natural world, first hand. I like to work on projects that support children’s ideas and interests.
My aim is to deliver projects that not only provide an opportunity to develop and foster children’s creative learning, but are designed to build their confidence and develop their awareness of risk-taking and understanding of the natural environment.
Since 1999 I have built a strong relationship with Sightlines Initiative and delivered a number of their creative enquiry-based projects. The UK reference for the preschools of Reggio Emilia.
I am a trained Level 3 Forest School Leader. My approach to ‘Forest School’ is always with a creative and child led focus that encourages curiosity and exploration.
An Exhibition showing the process and journing the children from Yr 4 Sea Scape Primary School in Peterlee, County Durham took culminating in a series of 4 silk panels.
They were to be expolorers of these woods. They were offered a range of activities in the form of small achievable tasks such as:
These Forest School activities were designed to develop self-awareness with the view to raising the children’s self-esteem. The children were all given field books to work in as we went through the woods.
How lucky that at Hilton Primary Academy, groups of Year 1 children go to a nearby wood, having access to wild experiences every week!
We’ve looked high and low; looking up into the trees and taking a closer look at what’s under our feet. We’ve followed our noses; sniffing things from moss, pine, and plants to bare earth. We’ve chased sounds by listening carefully with our eyes closed and mapped those sounds. We’ve heard the birds’ tweet and the wind blow; the trees rustle and the river flow.
Tucker: “I heard the silent sound of the rain dropping”
Lucas: “I heard the birds tweeting”
Chelsea: “I could hear the waterfall drip drip dripping”
We’ve fallen in love with sticks and are great gatherers of sticks, all kinds of sticks. Sticks can be something practical; a flicker, a poker, a shift-things-a-rounder. It provides a starting point for an active imagination and the raw materials for transformation into almost anything!
We experience all kinds of weathers, sometimes all at once, but we don’t mind and as the Scandinavians say: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!”
As the woods have become familiar to us, the children have become competent and capable explorers. We have been exploring the different areas in Chopwell Wood, Thornley Woods and Gibside Pleasure Gardens. We go, as Kira says:
“Deep into the woods, that’s where the real forest is.” – Kira