I work with Early Years children and act as a consultant for Early Years Education, literature and literacy and occasionally RE. With an MA in Education, particular interest in picture books, poetry and books with a ‘spiritual’ dimension, I have spent all my career furthering the role of literature as a vehicle for literary (and literacy) development and am the author of Learning to Read with Picture Books.
Over the past few years I have become very concerned with the narrowly conceived, prescriptive views of literature being promoted to teachers and hence, to children. This present pre-occupation in far too many schools, with a largely functional approach to literacy and emphasis on the mechanistic ‘bit-parts’ aspects, means that it is all too easy for the unique and fundamental role of literature in developing the imagination and in children’s meaning making, to be overlooked.
Essentially I see story as a kind of ‘sacred space’ – a place from which to become aware, to contact the spirit – that essential spark within. However, for literature to play that role in education of the imagination, it must take centre stage in the curriculum and be viewed, not primarily as a way of doing, but rather, as a way of being, or of helping children to be and to become.
In these pages, I hope to be able to highlight books , both those recently published as well as ones that have been well and truly tried and tested, that ‘work’ with children either at home, playgroups, nurseries or schools. In some instances, there will be ideas for working with the books