RUTH CHURCHILL DOWER, DIRECTOR OF EARLYARTS
As the Director, Ruth is in charge of keeping the vision for Earlyarts high on everyone’s agenda, advocating for what’s important in leadership and early learning, running our international consultancy, training hundreds of aspirational and outstanding leaders each year and, in turn, impacting on around 20,000 children and families. In 2009, Ruth won the Ogunte Women’s Social Leadership award for her work in building Earlyarts, and in 2012 she won the runner up Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.
A renowned author, advisor and media commentator, Ruth helps strategic thinkers to make sense of complex agendas, always keeping the focus on how any policy, curriculum, research or practice will impact positively on a child’s life. Ruth can often be found roaming the hills and valleys to indulge in her passion for paragliding, and spends her weekends puddle-splashing, den-building or tree-climbing with her two children. A more detailed profile can be read here.
SUSAN HIRST, ADMINISTRATOR
Susan is the first line of contact for members, clients and anyone interested in our products, training or consultancy services. A whizz with our database, Susan is our top trouble-shooter and can answer queries on almost anything except tomorrow's weather. She also provides support for the Earlyarts team and looks after our finance and accounts.
Susan loves nothing better than walking her dogs and having her grown-up children come home to be looked after. She also enjoys cooking, reading, walking and scrambling in the mountains.
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.
BEN SANDBROOK, POLICY ANALYST AND STRATEGY CONSULTANT
Ben is a cultural education consultant, and CEO of World Pencil, a charity and a social enterprise focussing on the coming together of arts, education and sustainable development. Ben's core focus is on strategic development, helping people to analyse complex information and experiences and communicate them effectively. Ben was previously Head of Policy with the National Foundation for Youth Music, responsible for the delivery of several education programmes nationwide.
Ben has significant experience in early years research and impact assessment, as well as music education technology. He is often found testing out his latest research findings with one of his four youngsters for some real, live feedback! Ben is also a highly accomplished musician, with a newly published album for little ones, Faraway Dreamer, and superb baritone singer.
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.