Professional Development

Adults need time without children too, both outdoors in wild spaces but also exploring how our more traditional rooms can become enabling spaces for curiosity and imagination for everyone. Our workshops offer participants the opportunity to explore new spaces and ideas and create their own responses and then to reflect on their practice and interests in this context. We are interested in working with educators, artists, writers, and anyone interested in bringing imagination and curiosity into their practice. Please contact us here if you’d like to discuss how we can work together.

CCI offers professional development opportunities around the county. We also run workshops conferences and seminars drawing links between our work with children and contact where possible to the landscape around the meeting space. We have worked together freely on sunny spring mornings but also been huddled under tarpaulins through thundery summer storms.

Thank you, it was calming, relaxing and at a slower pace. I haven’t been out in the woods in a long time.

It reminds me to always look beyond the classroom wall.

The creativeness of the children that can be developed through exploration will stick in my memory.

Feedback from workshops in 2014/15

Being in beautiful physical environments with a sense of slow time and expansive space really helps to clear the mind and focus conversation and thinking.  Our sessions are always shaped by the interests and questions of the group, and offer a balance of first-hand experience, free exploration, discussion, planning, presentations and resources.

I was surprised that I could work so easily with other people to be creative when I didn't feel creative.

I wonder why I don't do more of this at school.

I was struck by how the outside language used (by the children) is so different from inside.

I was surprised that children used complex text.

Feedback from Cambridgeshire County Council Forest School Conference, 2015

Creativity as Practice, a thirty hour accredited professional course designed by Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination (CCI) and colleagues at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, was created in 2005.  It was prompted by feedback from educators who attended an exhibition about children’s creativity and the role of artists in 2004, attended by over 2,000 people. The over-riding question posed by the exhibition evaluation was how could educators work with their own creativity once artists ‘have left the room’ (Enemies of Boredom, Evaluation report of Hundred Languages of Children exhibition). This work has recently been developed into a one year programme of workshops and mentoring for schools. Details of recent programmes are here.

I think it’s like a fuse being ignited because once you start with it, everything you do you think about in a different way…..It makes you rethink everything and kind of question are you really doing it in the best way you can….It’s having time, being guided. This is your time to think about these things because on an everyday basis you get caught up with your routine and your private life…..It was almost like visiting yourself - I felt like I was visiting myself every week – I just felt like I’d met myself again. Teachers feedback, Creativity as Practice course

Igniting a fuse: developing the creative practice of primary educators, a 64 page book, offers a richly illustrated account of the learning journeys undertaken by a group of educators on a Creativity as Practice course. Written by Mandy Maddock and Ruth Sapsed with a foreword by Mary Jane Drummond, it was published by Creative Partnerships in 2008. Copies are available from the CCI shop.

So as you read this report, and listen to the voices of the CAP participants, I invite you to do the hard work of listening. Listen for the questions that the teachers were wrestling with, listen for the questions they stimulate in you, listen for the values and principles that underpin their stories. Listen for their determination, courage and optimism. Listen for uncertainty, which is not the same as insecurity. Mary Jane Drummond

Spinney Wild Woods have hosted a series of workshops - read more about our Professional development work with educators in these woods here

In 2013/14 we facilitated a series of ‘wild exchanges’ for educators linked to three particular outdoor spaces in the county supported by Cambridgeshire Early Years Service.These have all been sites where we were commissioned to work with a nearby early years setting to establish or develop their outdoor projects (Bramblefields, Lattersey and Hinchingbrooke). We supported the ongoing work of the educators in their own settings and also met together as a group of educators and practitioners linked to these projects and spaces once a term, without children, to share experiences, develop practice, and continue exploring ways to meet the wild and connect the classroom.