Clay oven built at washwood Heath Nursery School in BirminghamA few years back I had the good fortune to collaborate with ‘Forest School Fiona’ at Washwood Heath Nursery School in Birmingham. We worked with children, staff and parents to construct a magnificent bread oven in the playground.

The oven has been well loved and played with and was starting to look a little ‘tired’ to say the least!

Just before 1/2 term the children and myself demolished what was left of the original, soaked down and re-claimed the clay and promptly re-built the structure.

Fantastic pottery strawberry created by an early years teacher from BirminghamAlthough I’m a regular visitor to Washwood Heath Nursery School in Birmingham, I’m delighted when groups from the School come and work with me on the Eastnor Castle Estate. So far this year we have welcomed a mini-bus full of parents and last month, staff came and learnt about clay techniques as part of their INSET.

Loving this strawberry made by one of the participants.

Early years clay play sessionsI seem to have spent the majority of the Autumn term whizzing up the M5 to work with the children and staff at x3 of the most creative Nursery Schools in Birmingham.

They are Washwood Heath Nursery, Brearley Nursery and Lillian De Lissa Nursery.

Although the driving is tedious at the best of times, the rewards far outweigh the time and effort it takes to get there. Here are a series of photos of clay creations made by the young and totally inspiring minds from all three settings.

Pottery Snow White at Birmingham nursery schoolOne of my early Autumn highlights is working with staff, parents and children at Washwood Heath Nursery School. Although I’m a regular visitor throughout the academic year, we run a concentrated series of workshops in Sept/Oct designed to ease the ‘settling in’ process for both children and their parents.

So, whilst the children are getting used to their new classroom surroundings, the parents are invited to remain in the hall, just in case they are needed by their youngsters. To occupy minds and sooth the stress of separation, the adults are offered creative activities such as basketmaking and claywork.

I’m always blown away by the talent, skill and stories shared.

A husband and wife, both doctors made some super clay work. Mum made a Snow White figure. (featured photo) Apparently, she’d made one at school when she was 11years old and although the school didn’t have a kiln, she was able to paint her dry clay work and was very proud of her artwork. Really grateful for the opportunity to make it again and was excited at the prospect of it being fired and glazed. Husband helped her construct the figure, they both worked together on the same piece. Mum used to love her clay lessons and used to skip history lessons in order to work in the pottery studio.

“This really takes me back to my childhood – I’m going to take a photo and share it on my facebook page as all my old school friends will comment about it”

Training day for Birmingham Teachers in HerefordshireSpent a lovely day in the company of the brilliant staff from Washwood Heath Nursery School in Birmingham.

The guys visited the Pottery on a training and development mission to learn all about caretaking and re-claiming clay….as well as getting very creative making ceramic musical instruments and pots on the potter’s wheel.

If you think your EYFS, Primary or High School staff deserve a creative and inspiring INSET session in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside then please take a look at our web page dedicated to the activity.