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Early Years Work
I’ve been working with early years groups for a long time and much of my work in the last 22 years has been centred around the creativity of very young children. I’ve worked extensively with pre-school children throughout the UK on many different projects in nurseries and schools, sure start centres, private day nurseries, playgroups, parents and toddler groups and community groups.
I’m resident artist and one of the Forest School Leaders at Dunkirk Primary and Nursery School. I’ve developed a close and strong partnership with this school over the past 6 years and much of this work takes place with the nursery and reception children. This work began through the schools work as a Creative Partnerships School and School of Creativity; the residency has developed into a long-term partnership which includes the development of the school allotment as a learning space, pedagogical documentation and taking inspiration from Reggio Emilia across the whole school.
I’ve undertaken a lot of research and study visits exploring creativity and learning in the early years. For many years I’ve been incredibly inspired by the work of the Reggio Emilia settings in Italy and have attended study visits there and with the Reggio Institute in Sweden and Denmark, through the Sightlines Initiative.
I’ve run many training and inset sessions for adults that work with very young children (see also training and inset work), and been involved in the creation of publications and films about creativity with early years groups.
Other early years projects have included:
The creation of a set of story-telling suitcases with parents and early years groups at schools and sure start centres in Mansfield (2011).
A residency with nursery and reception classes at Berridge Infants School, Nottingham, exploring resources, inspired by the Reggio Emilia ethos (2011).
A residency with the nursery and reception classes at Welbeck Primary and nursery School (2009-2011), through Creative Partnerships Change School programme.
A residency with foundation stage pupils at Intake Farm primary and nursery school, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire (2009). through Creative Partnerships Change School programme.
A residency with foundation stage pupils at Highbank Primary and nursery school, Clifton, Nottingham (2008-2011). through Creative Partnerships Change School programme.
Residency with Eyres Monsell Sure Start, Leicester, as part of Creative Partnerships Change School programme. (2009)
Work with foundation stage children in Rosslyn Park and Heathfield schools, Nottingham (2008) through Creative Partnerships.
Residencies with 2 different groups as part of the second stage of the Nottinghamshire County Council Early Years Team project
Create2gether. (2007 and 2008).
Residency with 2 foundation stage classes (reception) at Carsic Primary school, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, through Creative Partnerships (2007).
Residency with early years groups at Huntingdon Primary and Nursery, Nottingham, through Creative Partnerships (2007).
Second stage of CreatAbility project in West Sussex with 10 groups and a team of other artists; this included the publication of a book (by Sage) about creativity with young children and a national conference, (2006-07). www.sagepub.co.uk/skinner
Create2gether project (Nottinghamshire County Council) residencies with Blyth pre-school and Little Bears pre-school, Carlton, Nottinghamshire. (2006).
Pilot stage of CreatAbility project with 4 pre-school groups, West Sussex. Working with visual artist Teresa Grimaldi. Included the creation of a video as a training resource for early years groups. (2005).
residency with Dunkirk Primary and Nursery School
“… through the sense of touch, children learn about their world…pounding and pressing, caressing and smoothing, pinching and incising, dabbing and stroking…gliding and twirling… feathery and furry, knobbly and stony…learning to see… being attentive to things, seeing familiar things anew, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, learning to see - with all the senses… a language of hands…”