RUTH CHURCHILL DOWER, DIRECTOR OF EARLYARTS
Ruth Churchill Dower is an accredited trainer, a leadership coach, a renowned consultant, a former teacher and an accomplished musician, actor and storyteller. Informed by neuroscience, early childhood psychology and the arts, Ruth is passionate about fostering creative environments, pedagogy and leadership that have a clear impact on children's learning. She says;
"Time and again, I see a child's engagement transformed through an arts or creative approach. It enables them to unlock their identities, abilities and potential because the spotlight of expectation is taken off what they believe they can’t ‘achieve’ and, instead, a warm glow uplights the things that they absolutely can do and are real to them – exploring and expressing themselves using their imagination instead of words. All of a sudden, what they thought they couldn’t do doesn’t seem so difficult anymore and many young children flourish in this respectful, creative environment. Everyone should have access to that powerful opportunity of discovering what is possible for themselves just by looking at the world through a different lens."
A renowned author, advisor and media commentator, Ruth helps educators to make sense of children’s worlds, especially focussing on children with anxiety and other mental health challenges, and always underpinning her training with rigorous academic research. From 2019-22, Ruth is undertaking a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University on the neuro-biological events taking place when young children with selective mutism successfully interact using embodied communications through music and dance instead of verbal speech and language methods. Updates on this research will be published here.
Ruth’s new book, Creativity and the Arts in Early Years – Supporting Young Children’s Development & Well-Being (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) is out in Summer 2019.
A more detailed profile can be read here.
rachel brooke, middle east CONSULTANT
Former Head of Internal Projects for the Qatar Museums Authority, and having worked in working in galleries in France, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, Rachel has extensive experience in international arts management. Originally trained in 3-dimensional design and specialising in jewellery and photography, Rachel has combined her artistic skills with an excellent knowledge of world class collections of Art from the Islamic World, both historical and contemporary, as well as the best practices of east and west.
Rachel brings 20 years of experience in devising and delivering creative education programmes for museums, art galleries and participatory arts programmes, most recently working as part of a team delivering inter-disciplinary Learning and Outreach initiatives to children and families in Qatar. Rachel is also a competent photographer with fluent French and conversational Arabic. As such, Rachel is Earlyarts' senior consultant for the Middle East.
AMANDA PEARCE-BURTON, LEADERSHIP CONSULTANT
Amanda is a business leader, innovative trainer and strategic consultant in the public, voluntary and private sectors, as well as heading up her own business as Director of Formation Training. Amanda has worked with the Department of Education, government agencies, local authorities, schools, the voluntary sector and SME’s.
Formation Training designed the first assessment process for Early Years Professional Status and acted as the national external moderators of the EYP standards. Amanda is Vice Chair of Governors for a primary school, a Director of the Flying High Trust and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Her knowledge extends to specialist subjects including creativity and problem solving, leadership, Emotional Intelligence, team dynamics, NLP, change management, developing strategic direction and partnership working. She is also an accredited trainer of the Action Centred Leadership (ACL) model through Adair International and in conducting Hay Group Emotional and Social Intelligence assessments,
DR EFTHYMIOS PAPTZIKIS, NEUROSCIENCE CONSULTANT
Efthymios is a cognitive neuroscientist, with a special interest in music education and the impact of music on infant brain development. A violinist and teacher himself, Efthymios has also been a researcher and lecturer in music psychology and neuroscience at the University of East Anglia, Harvard University, and the Institute of Education, University of London, and completed a scholarship in 2015 with the University of Geneva in Neuroscience and Brain Imaging.
Efthymios is currently Associate Professor of Educational Neuroscience at the Canadian University Dubai, and is one of Earlyarts' lead consultants in the UAE.
JAMES HUGGINS, CHILDREN'S MEDIA AND DIGITAL LEARNING CONSULTANT
One of the foremost digital pioneers in the world, James founded Made in Me as a children's digital publishing company with his brother-in-law, Mike, in 2009 to inspire young children to learn by exploring their creativity and imagination. The company partnered with Ladybird to launch the award-winning and BAFTA nominated The Land of Me, an interactive picture book world where young children and adults can play together across a variety of activities including music composition, dance choreography and storytelling.
In late 2011, Made in Me launched Me Books, a picture book reader app that allows children to create their own interactive versions of classic stories. The company has fostered relationships with major publishers including Penguin, Lego, Disney and Save the Children to introduce more titles to this exciting new publishing platform. Prior to Made in Me, James was the Managing Director of Escape Studios, one of the foremost visual effects academies in the world.
SALLY FORT, RESEARCH AND EVALUATION CONSULTANT
Sally leads on evaluation and research for specific projects, including the beautiful Creative Cookbook for Cape UK and Creative Partnerships. Most recently, Sally led on evaluation for the Youth Music Spotlighting programme, identifying how creative training can impact on early years practice, culminating in a rigorous evaluation report and six fantastic videos.
Sally also crafts and blogs about beautiful creations, and indulges her passion for some of the wildest Roller Derbies this side of Manchester.