The Scrapstore was delighted to be invited to visit the Eco Studio and early years classrooms at John Donne School in Peckham. We are always keen to observe and be part of initiatives to encourage creativity with what you can find and re-use and we found it at this school in spades!
Ruth Moyler, previously the Deputy Head and now continuing her leadership at the school whilst focusing on her consulting role in the wider Borough Of Southwark, was our guide. After a delicious school dinner, we spent our lunch-time in the Green Studio observing children making wonderful creations out of a variety of inspiring junk. Ruth opens the studio, which is situated in the playground in a high-end shed, for 3 days per week during lunch-time and offers 8 children at a time the chance to come in and use any of the materials on offer to make anything that their imagination inspires. From plastic milk cartons to fabric and paper scraps, to bottle tops to wool and twine to widgets and re-used bling, children are free to chose what they would like to make and the materials they would like to use to make it.
Wonderous milk bottle cars, cardboard and straw guitars and fantasy houses were created independently by the children in just 30 minutes. The approach is to allow the children to have free-choice around what they make and with what. Ruth is on hand to facilitate, but does not have the ideas - those belong with the children. The children were keen to tell us about other things that have been made including: carton-cameras, up-cycled jewellery and a time-travel machine!
We also had the chance to visit a number of early years classrooms and saw in practice the influence of creative learning on academic development. We are thrilled to have made friends with Ruth who runs courses for early years practitioners in Fabulous Phonics: a creative approach to teaching. Her work has recently been featured in the Guardian. We are hoping for collaboration with her in the future as she broadens her reach and influence.
Here's to a green shed in every playground!