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 . . .

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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!

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I’m really excited about bees right now! The Co-operative College has commissioned me to produce a series of three picturebooks and an activity pack to help children in the early years to understand the basic principles of cooperation.

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We are creating stories about a cute bee called Harmony who must learn to work together with her friends to get the jobs done – and also have some fun!

These resources will be used by nursery schools linked to the Co-operative College and also by the Rochdale Pioneers Museum. The original building on Toad Lane, which was used as the first successful “co-op” grocery shop in the 1840s, is now open to the public and to school groups.

comicbook coverHot off the press is this colourful and creative look at the language of comicbook culture that I produced with Key Stage 1 children at Hollinsclough Cof E (VA) Primary School in the Peak District.

I really enjoyed working in a lovely rural setting with a small class that included children from Reception through to Year 2. They were already in the middle of a topic about superheroes. We had great fun running around in capes and masks as we came up with lots of alliteration, onomatopoeia, and exclamatory punctuation!!!

The children created challenges to overcome including a crazy lego robot, a prehistoric plasticine monster and a massive meteor headed straight for earth. They used the ComicLife app for iPad to make their own strip designs and starred in action trailer we made using iMovie. Then their hand-drawn callouts and captions were combined with photographs of their roleplay to make the finished book.

If you would like a Storybook Creation Project for your school read more  . . .

World Book Day has turned into World Book Week!!!

I’d like to thank all the lovely children and teachers I’ve worked with over the past few days at:

Deepdale Infant School, Preston

St Mark’s C of E (A) Primary School, Stoke-on-Trent

Hollinsclough C of E (VA) Primary School, Staffordshire

You don’t have to wait until World Book Day 2015 – why not contact me now to book an Author Day?

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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!”

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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.

book launch image

Thanks to The Lancashire Evening Telegraph for the photo above of the Reception & Year 1 children of Padiham Primary School receiving  copies of The Travel Writers. I worked with them over the winter on a project aimed at advancing early writing skills, and together we made an original storybook about the power of the written word to transport the reader to different places. All the children featured in the illustrations which were created by montaging photographs of them engaged in role-play with fantastic backgrounds and real writing. Learn more about my storybook projects for schools here…

superwriters book image The Padiham Green Primary School writing project has culminated in this gorgeous comic style storybook. The children had a great time bringing their tale to life through roleplay as they restored all the signs and labels erased by their arch enemy, The Evil Eraser!!! It was wonderful to see so many parents attend the celebration assembly and book launch today, and I was so glad that every child involved was able to take home a copy of their own book! Parent comments included:

Very inventive and a brilliant experience for all the children. I love all the concepts and the writing is perfect for the age group. Very well done!”  

The children have really enjoyed it. Thomas always came home to tell me how much he enjoyed spending time and doing the book. Thank you!”

The children have had a brilliant time doing this and the books are fantastic! The children have been very excited and haven’t stopped talking about what a great experience they have had. Thank you!”

See more about my Storybook Projects for schools 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…

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mouse book cover

Pippa was commissioned by Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum to write and illustrate a children’s storybook Meet The Mice. She made a series of charming watercolour paintings which told the tale of the little mice who inhabit the old stately house. The original artwork was exhibited at the hall alongside the storybooks, prints and greetings cards which are available to purchase in the giftshop.

A Portrait of Burnley was a photographic exhibition that aimed to capture a cross- section of people linked to the Lancashire town. It was shown at Towneley Hall Art Gallery (pictured above) and also at the Mid Pennine Art Gallery.

big write poster

Pippa organised The Big Write event in Burnley in 2009 involving local libraries, art galleries, schools and nurseries. She secured funding from Arts Council England to host a writing event at a museum, and successfully engaged the storytelling services of John Cunliffe  (the creator of Postman Pat and Rosie & Jim). Activities included filling a giant canvas with visitor’s favourite words and introducing a wide variety of opportunities and media for mark-making and self-expression through the written word. Poetry and prose were combined in a momento book featuring contributions submitted on the day and via the event blog by the people of Burnley.

 

new life poster

Fine art photographic prints of paper sculptures with a literary theme formed the body of this exhibition displayed at Leigh Library & Turnpike Art Gallery to complement their collection of antique books. Pippa hosted a one day paper engineering workshop for adults (pictured below). The original sculptures and framed prints of New Life for Old Books were also shown at Towneley Hall Art Gallery & Museum, Burnley and at Pendle Heritage Centre, Barrowford. These also featured sample spreads from the making of the  The Princess & The Pea pop-up book.

Paper engineering workshop at Leigh Library
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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.
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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

image wet camera

I have a whole drawer full of destroyed compact cameras! I usually take a box full with me when I work in schools, but very often they get dropped or otherwise mangled. So I’ve bought a batch of  Fujifilm XP series cameras that claim to be waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof!!! Let’s hope they are…

light sculpture image

I had to stand as still as a statue for this light sculpture artwork created by fellow photographer Tristan Brady-Jacobs at yesterday’s celebration event for Curious Minds. I think even he was impressed at the striking results of this image captured on campus at Lancaster University! Thanks to everyone involved…