Don't you agree that the best teachers are the ones who know how to make sense of the world? They know how to capture a child's heart as well as their mind, and how to nurture those magic moments when imaginations go wild! They give whatever it takes so that a child really gets it, feels valued and respected, wants to do their very best and thrives, no matter what the odds are against them.
Teachers like this are confident in their leadership skills and their creativity. They know how to hold the space, to listen to, investigate and think with their children. They enjoy the sense of adventure and watching each child make leaps and bounds in their learning progression. Why? Because they know the importance of their influence on young children's lives. And because they know that excellent teaching reaps huge rewards in terms of energy, creativity and enjoyment as well as children's achievements.
As the Director of Earlyarts, I am passionate about our youngest children having the best start in life. I know that, when your two, three or four year old is choosing not to speak, finds socialising difficult, can't concentrate or has severe anxiety problems, the usual lesson plan is often not an option.
Time and again, I see a child's engagement transformed through an arts or creative approach. It enables a child to unlock their real potential because the spotlight is taken off what they find difficult and, instead, shined on what is possible. Read more about the seven benefits of the arts in early childhood.
Teachers tell me this is where they feel least confident, in trying to 'be creative' or, worse still, 'measure creativity'. It's the one area that teacher training doesn't really cover. Which is surprising considering how powerful the right creative approach can be.
Knowing which creative approach to use that will inspire and educate your children, and how to link the creative process to learning outcomes so that you can measure its impact on individual areas like physical development, numeracy and literacy, can make your job as an educator so much easier.
That's why we have created our bespoke training and consultancy programmes to help early years and primary educators master skills in creative leadership, emotional intelligence and creative teaching, to enable your staff, your children (and their families) to flourish. We also help arts centres, museums and galleries to become more family friendly by focusing their wonderfully creative offer on what families really want and need.
From the small seed of an idea which was planted in 2002, Earlyarts has grown to become an internationally recognised training platform for outstanding leadership and creativity. In 2009, I was delighted to win the Ogunte Women’s Social Leadership Awards for Earlyarts' contribution to make real change happen in young children's lives and, in 2012, I was runner up for Social Entrepreneur of the Year award. Now, in 2017, Earlyarts has an international platform, primarily in the UAE and the UK.
To keep me on track, I enjoy being challenged by my mentor, Baroness Estelle Morris of Yardley (former Secretary of State for Education – 2001, and Minister for the Arts - 2002) who, together with Sir Ken Robinson, are the wonderful patrons of Earlyarts.
Their knowledge and expertise has been inspirational for me and I would like to share this, and more, with you through one of my courses or consultancy programmes.