Rotorua, Te Puke, Maketu, Paengaroa, and Tauranga districts
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I am a published writer and a member of NZ Reads Writers in Schools programme. I spent 30 years teaching, thirteen of which were as a specialist drama teacher at an Intermediate. I combine storytelling, drama and writing to retell, bring alive and make sense of the world around us. As well as organising and facilitating regular writing workshops for children and adults I have a special love for teaching creative writing to migrants. When working with students I like to use Readers Theatre as it involves using all students of any ability in a positive and self-esteem building way. A current project of mine is to rewrite various aspects of New Zealand history in Readers Theatre format to make the learning fun and memorable. It also opens up topics for wide interpretation and discussion.
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 a large number of books published by educational publishers as well as four illustrated children's picture books.
- Have facilitated 15 writing workshops for adults in 2019.
- Regular public speaking on writing, reading and personal experiences at Reader writers festivals, service clubs, Children's Literature Seminars and other public events.
- Regular visitor to schools as part of the Writers in Schools Scheme.
- Was responsible for directing and producing school productions and recently wrote my first play which was performed.
- I'm best described as versatile, open-minded and ready to explore any opportunity that combines the spoken and written word.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
- Have worked as a primary school teacher for 30 years covering all levels and specialising in drama and ESOL.
- Spent three years teaching at an International School in Vanuatu.
- Often asked to take independent writing workshops during school holidays.
- Previous experience has also included working with physically and mentally challenged students as a psychopaedic nurse, IHC holiday programme co-ordinator and volunteer worker with an association.
- I also have grandchildren to test my crazy ideas on.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
I fully believe in the importance of creativity as a way to develop individual potential and teaching the skills needed for working collaboratively. In particular, the importance of writing, drama and storytelling for building self-esteem and confidence, crucial skills needed for all aspects of life. I also love the idea that artists working in any medium will be valued by being financially reimbursed for the work that they do! Should I be successful in partnering with a school I would aim to teach and use storytelling, drama and a variety of genres of written language to help students interpret and understand the world they are living in. This could be devising and presenting current events, environmental concerns, community issues or personal experiences as Readers Theatre, writing and illustrating their own picture books or working collaboratively on a whole-school or community project.