Posts from the ‘Early Years’ category

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I was thrilled to be invited back to share this magical performance and exciting workshop for a new generation of pupils at Liverpool’s Abercromby Nursery School as part of their visit to Unity Theatre. It was great to have access to such excellent facilities – atmospheric lighting & immersive sound – along with superb support from the house technical team and management. The children and staff from Abercromby really enjoyed the experience and posted their own gallery of images from the day on the school’s website.

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I was thrilled to perform Scribble & Scrunch today at Unity Theatre, Liverpool. They had invited children from nearby Abercromby Nursery School to visit the theatre and enjoy a storytelling and activity session. It was a great experience to work with the in-house technicians to put on a show with professional lighting and soundscapes. Thank you so much to all the staff and children for such a fabulous day!

The session was lovely! The children were all engaged and loved the stories and activities. The costume was fabulous! “She is a real princess,” said one little girl. It was all fab!

The first book in The Little Pioneers series has reached print proof stage which is fantastic!
charlie coverIt features Charlie, a four-year-old who loves to join in and play with his friends at nursery. He is based on one of the existing mascot characters used by Co-operative Childcare to promote their core values. Charlie is joined in this rhyming picturebook by four friends – Ping, Ela, Alice & Ebo –   and they have fun as they create some amazing things together!

charlie spread

Each of Charlie’s Little Pioneer friends represents one of the organisation’s DOES values: Democracy, Openness, Equality & Social Responsibility.  I’m already busy working on the next book in the series which features a girl called Ping and introduces concepts of democracy for children in the Early Years.


story creatures image

Staghills Childrens Centre invited me back to do another 6-week project on storytelling and emergent writing. 

basket imageWe explored the story creation process using cameras and iPads, creating characters and settings, building story structures and linking them to movement, roleplay and writing. Each session has been a multi-sensory experience: paper has been ripped, torn and scrumpled; dough has been squished, squashed and squeezed!

Children have become forest adventurers and ocean voyagers, and have been introduced to some of my own favourite characters: Scribble & Scrunch, Mouse & Rabbit, Sydney the Sock. It has been so exciting to see the children develop into confident storytellers!

I loved attending the sessions as did my little girl. I loved the interaction with the children, especially getting the children to write the stories, which turned out quite funny! Thank you for sharing your stories with us!”

Lyanne, parent

I had a wonderful day with the children at the Co-operative Childcare nursery at Littlehampton. I have been commissioned by The Midcounties Co-operative to produce five little picturebooks to feature each of their existing Little Pioneer characters. Yesterday the children worked with me to build stories for the first in the series – about Charlie, a boy who loves to co-operate with others!

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I was also filmed and interviewed throughout the day. The film will be screened at the organisation’s AGM next month . . .

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I’ve just completed a fun mark-making project working with 2-3 year olds at Staghills Children’s Centre in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. Parents joined their children for stories and activities on several dates including today’s celebration event. The brief included creating 3D sculptural work whilst helping the children to develop confidence in using a wide range of marking media and materials. I began each session by sharing an exciting story selected to inspire a particular approach to mark-making. Over 6 weeks we experimented with:

  • Drawing with chunky wax crayons on paper
  • Stamping on fabric with fruits and vegetables
  • Painting tracks with toy cars and dinosaurs
  • Printing with bubblewrap and foam shapes
  • Marking with fabric crayons, paints and markers
  • Creating & decorating cardboard structures
  • Making lanterns using wax crayons on yupo paper

Some of the activities produced beautiful decorations on squares of fabric. I quilted these together to create an 8ft teepee and some gorgeous scatter cushions – a perfect place for telling stories!

I have now been invited to extend my stay into the Summer Term to work with the same children as they progress to the next stage as storytellers and emergent writers . . .

pippa at burnley youth theatre

The Stories Alive project began today with a storytelling experience at Burnley Youth Theatre for classes of children from local nursery settings. On each group’s arrival the project lead, Gordon MacLellan (Creeping Toad), introduced myself and Carol Ferro (Short Story Lady) in the main auditorium. We then headed to breakout rooms for interactive story creation sessions.

The project will continue over the remainder of the academic year with each practitioner assigned to work closely with one of five participating schools. I’m looking forward to spending more time with children from Taywood Nursery in Burnley, helping them to discover the excitement of telling their own tales . . .


Thank you to everyone who attended and joined in with my workshop today at the The Schools Co-operative Society’s Annual Conference in Birmingham. The three Harmony the Honey Bee storybooks were launched at the same event, and I had opportunity to share the Foundation Stage  Activity Pack which is still in development. It was very exciting for me because the third book in the series, Harmony & the Waggledance, only arrived back from the printers a few hours before the conference!

Find out more about these books here . . .


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My sketches of Mouse & Rabbit simply begged to be brought to life as three-dimensional characters! It was so exciting to see them emerge from from my sewing area so full of personality and ready for adventures – they love dressing up, going places, doing things and being creative!


I’ve just unwrapped the fabulous-looking proof copy of Exciting Writing: Approaches to Mark-Making!

exciting writing coverThis book documents a project in which I was invited to Whitegate Centre to help children grow in confidence and ability as emergent writers. It is packed with lovely images from the project and quotations from the children who joined in the sessions. It considers approaches to early writing by examining the underlying thought processes and the physical skills required. It also explores how to embed learning about writing within the context of imaginative play and storytelling, presenting several case studies of successful guided activities. The chapters feature tried & tested tips for improved learning outcomes across all seven areas of the revised EYFS, along with examples of how well-planned continuous provision of resources for mark-making supports children’s development.

Read more about the project and book here...

Thank you to everyone who attended my workshops at the 2013 Liverpool Early Years Conference last week – and left me such glowing feedback!

Excellent session – very inspiring, lots of ideas to take back to class. Thank you!”

Fantastic ideas with great examples I will definitely use!”

Lovely visuals – some wonderful ideas!”

Really, really, really creative – a breath of fresh air!”

Great ideas for imaginative writing – loved it!”

Really useful, can’t wait to get boys mark-making!”

Fantastic ideas I will definitely use – like the fact doesn’t involve expensive resources too!”

What great ideas – with few resources – but creative/imaginative ones – very organised and great ICT, thanks!”

What an inspiration! Lots of ideas to take back to the setting. Thank you Pippa!”

image yurt video

I spent Saturday in Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens in a fabulous handmade yurt supplied by High Peak Community Arts. I was there to entertain children and families with an interactive story session. Learn more about my Storytelling here.

beads image I’ve been a enjoying a fantastic opportunity to test out some of my newest storybook concepts by sharing them with a group of 3 to 4 year olds at the Whitegate Centre in Padiham. This project is one that I’m really passionate about!

I introduced a simple story to the group on the first day, along with some associated mnemonic aids, and revisited it a couple of times throughout the project. I was impressed that several weeks later all the children could retell the narrative with the right characters and events, and in the right sequence.

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Read more about my Early Years Projects here…

image children writing on tins

I’m really enjoying this project at a primary school in Padiham, Lancashire. The aim is to help a group of children from Reception and Year 1 to engage more fully with writing by using creative approaches – just my kind of thing!

I start each session by introducing a story narrative to provide a sense of purpose for the writing, stimulating the children’s compositional skills. Then varied choice of tools and media help sustain interest in developing the mechanical or secretarial aspects of the writing process. The results have been outstanding!

This project will culminate in an original storybook produced in collaboration with the children. Fabulously, there is sufficient budget to send a book home with every child…

My current obsession is turning farmyard animals into loveable storybook characters for a children’s storybook series I’m working on. It’s totally top secret still, but I can reveal that the stories each use language and scenarios suitable for introducing maths concepts to children in the Early Years age group.
pippa and cow image

This beautiful creature is part of a small herd I can see from my studio window – I couldn’t resist the chance to make some quick sketches and get some reference photos. I’ll reveal more about this project when I’ve got a publication date…

ipad teddy image

I’ve been invited to act as Creative Consultant for a year long project researching the best practice for, and impacts of, introducing Apple mobile devices into six Early Years settings across Merseyside. I’m really keen to be involved with this Digital Journeys project because it promises to answer some real questions about the effectiveness of using ICT with such young learners, whether as continuous provision or in practitioner guided sessions. I am aware that many are sceptical about this…

Too much engagement with this quick-fix technology is making it more difficult for some children to learn to read and write.

Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood

The project is lead by Ann Langston of Early Years Matters who was involved in writing the current Early Years Framework so I look forward to gaining the insights that her experience will bring to our planning, cluster meetings and evaluations. My role will be to provide training to the lead teachers from each participating school to smooth the way as they get to grips with the iPads and iPod Touches that the local education authority is supplying. Aside from “IT support” I’ll be sharing creative ideas about how to integrate features and apps with fun and hands-on activities that will help the children to engage with learning and develop core skills. The best part is that there is sufficient funding for me to visit each setting to provide additional support and see some of my suggestions put into practice…

“If Early Years continues to focus exclusively on traditional forms of literacy, then it will be failing to provide all children with the skills they will need at school and in their future lives.”

Dr Rosie Flewitt, Multimodal Literacies in the Early Years, ESRC 2011