Parents at nursery school make pottery with Jon the PotterThis time of year can be an anxious one for parents of young children starting school or nursery for the very first time. The excellent Washwood Heath Nursery School in Birmingham have a brilliant solution to help quell the nerves and sooth separation.

Whilst the children are getting to know the staff and their peers in the classroom, mum & dad are encouraged to remain at the school in an adjoining hall, near enough to be called on if their child is not settling. Whilst they wait, the parents get to participate in a host of creative activities designed to divert attention from the situation and aid well being.

For the past three years I’ve been providing pottery sessions as part of this process, working with some very talented individuals for the first four weeks of term. I’m always impressed and inspired by the quality of the clay outcomes and the parents often comment on the success of the policy. In fact, long after their children have settled in, some grown-ups can still be found in the hall, weeks later, absorbed in coil-pot making and slip decoration!