Lifelong learning: Fresh perspectives for arts practitioners

As schools face the challenge of reopening and reintegrating their students this September, creative approaches to education, health and wellbeing are more important than ever. Organisations such as creative learning charity Artis Foundation have a significant role to play. This year, the Foundation has teamed up with poet Cheryl Moskowitz as part of its training and enrichment programme for practitioners, which is supported by the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning.

Artis Specialists work with thousands of schoolchildren around the country each term, helping them to integrate the arts throughout their learning and express themselves in creative ways. Ensuring that these specialists are well supported themselves is a high priority for the Foundation. This year’s enrichment programme has included six training days – the most recent three day training session taking place at the end of August.

Enrichment for all

We’re always looking for different input – new and fresh ideas for our specialists as well as for the schoolchildren they support.

Nigel Mainard

Artis’s regular training days offer practitioners the chance to connect and share experiences and ideas with colleagues, access regular CPD and gain inspiration from guest speakers. Moskowitz has run sessions at the April and summer training days this year, sharing her approach to using poetry as an educational tool and as a language in its own right within schools.

Nigel Mainard, Director and Co-Founder at Artis, comments, “We are delighted to be working with Cheryl, who has such a wealth of experience. We’re always looking for different input – new and fresh ideas for our specialists as well as for the schoolchildren they support. Creative beings need feeding, after all! The inspiration that Artis Specialists gain from our training days is taken back to the schools they work with and used for the direct benefit of the children.”

Making a lasting impression

Cheryl Moskowitz is extremely familiar with the benefits of using creative approaches within a school environment. With over thirty years’ experience in the field, she is one of the UK’s pre-eminent children’s writing practitioners at work today.

Moskowitz comments, “If I had to offer one key piece of advice in terms of working in school settings with young people it would be to ensure creative involvement by the teachers as much as the children.

“A creative practitioner coming in from the outside will end up being a ‘flash in the pan’ unless the teacher and other adults involved in the children’s education have had a creative experience themselves. Having that experience helps those adults to incorporate creativity into their teaching even after the creative practitioner has gone. Creativity is a way of being, something that needs to be experienced and embodied in order to be applied.”

Cheryl Moskowitz’s latest collection of poetry was created during lockdown and released this summer in response to the Covid-19 crisis. A tool for educators and parents, it has been designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of primary school pupils by sparking meaningful conversations between children and their grown-ups. An e-book version of The Corona Collection – A Conversation is currently available. The poems will be published under a new title in a developed form as a full-length book by Troika Books in Spring 2021.