I am happy to visit any primary/intermediate school in New Plymouth or the Inglewood area of Taranaki.
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I have a passion for creativity, language, and children which is why I've found myself writing poetry. I never aspired to be a writer, writing found me. It provided me with a creative vent to deal with life's challenges. I write about anything and everything and use my experiences and observations as inspiration. I believe everyone has an inner poet waiting to be unleashed. I write mostly humorous rhyming verse about topical issues but also write performance poetry and use my professional training as a Speech Language Therapist to communicate my ideas effectively in an authentic and relatable way.
My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with
I have founded a poetry group and been instrumental in organising events for local poets. I've performed at the WOMAD Poetry Slam twice - making the final once. New Plymouth District Council invited me to be part of their Ad Lib Literary Festival - performing my poems and running children's poetry workshops. I have arranged and MC-ed poetry at the annual Festival of Lights. I was the first and only poet to be featured in the Taranaki Arts Trail and had a great response to my poetic exhibit. I am a big believer in presenting poetry in ways other than in a book. I've had my Instagram poems liked by New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. I have also published a chapbook, as well as having articles published by New Zealand Poetry Society and poems published by Phantom Billstickers. Most recently, I organised a collaborative project pairing singer-songwriters with poets for performance. The event was such a success that I have been asked to repeat it as a community event for the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
In 1993 I graduated from University of Wales Cardiff as a Paediatric Speech Language Therapist and have worked for over 25 years with children to optimise their communication skills. In 2006 I achieved Qualified Teacher Status after taking a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education at Winchester University before moving over to New Zealand to work for the Ministry of Education as a Speech Language Therapist in Taranaki. I have been responsible for running various teaching programmes (Hanen, IY) and work with children and families daily to support their learning. In addition, I established an indoor play venue, which I ran between 2013- 2018 for the local community. I have a good understanding of how to bring out the best in others as well as appreciating what each individual can offer to a creative process.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
I believe it is a wonderful initiative and I wholeheartedly support opportunities for collaboration. My experience delivering poetry workshops to children in the Ad Lib Festival was thoroughly enjoyable. I would relish the opportunity to repeat working with children on a more regular basis. Personally, I have negative memories of poetry in school and have a desire to see poetry revealed in ways other than on a page in a book. I want to explore fresh approaches to this art form so that others become excited about it. I'm keen for students to experience the benefits of poetry which include: improved reading skills, increased fluency, expanding vocabulary, improved phonological awareness, exploring language structures and meaning, extending imagination and visualisation skills, raising empathy, and positively impacting social skills. What's not to love?