As part of our ongoing In Conversation with … series, I have a chat with Greg Bottrill, Author and Play Pedagogy Expert. He reveals his experience of the COVID-19 Lockdown and what it has meant to him, and we talk about his passion for Children and Play, his hopes for the sector as we return to Practice and also how Play can support Children work through any anxieties or express their feelings relating to COVID and the Lockdown.
During this informal chat, we learn more about Greg as a person, his passion and advocacy for children shining through and he provides his thoughts on how children can be supported by play and child-led activities, how we can start the conversations with children to learn about any anxieties they may have and help them by listening.
Greg is an author and passionate advocate of childhood and the magic of children.
He is also the creator of the Message Centre, Drawing Club, and Play Projects, as well as the delightful Play School TV, an exploration of the power of make-believe based on his approach to outdoor play, Adventure Island – a wonderful way to open up a world of creativity, language, story and joy: education done with children, not to them.
You can view both of Greg’s books in our EY Matters Shop, where they link to Greg’s website so you can purchase them at a discounted price with the added bonus of being personally signed, Click on the image of each book to find out more.
Can I Go and Play Now?
Is it time to re-think continuous practice in the early years?
The world of education is an amazing and rewarding world to be in, but there is a sense among many that work within it that there is something not quite right, that all is not well.
In this book, Greg Bottrill explores how he ensures that, in his Early Years setting, continuous provision enables children. He shares his Early Years pedagogy through the ′3Ms′ and explains how to apply these in the classroom. Greg also explores the definition of play – what it is and what it isn’t – and the challenging role of the Early Years teacher.
‘School And The Magic of Children’ is an exploration of the very soul of childhood, leading us on an adventure into the world of Story via Drawing Club and then into a new lens to look through at play itself with the concept of Play Projects.
Both are highly impactful and creative ways to bring learning to life based on the view that children are capable, creative and need agency in their education so that they are authentic learners and we can be authentic educators.
The Message Centre
Young children need to feel three things when they write and mark make: joy, purpose and magic. The Message Centre delivers all three of these in bucketloads. A simple rebrand of writing, messaging offers both children and adults a delight in what might otherwise be a struggle. When messaging takes off, the phrase ‘reluctant writers’ goes out the window! Children want to message – they love its simplicity and its warmth.
Do you love books and stories? Do you want to open up the magic world of tales and story to children whilst at the same time enriching their language skills, developing their fine motor and sharing really special time with them? Are you looking for an approach to Literacy that doesn’t involve laboriously learning stories for weeks on end, but instead immerses children into a world full of imagination where anything can happen and often does?
Ideal for Reception, KS1 and into KS2, the concept of Play Projects is firmly rooted in the belief that children are creative, collaborative and can lead their own learning trajectory. If you work in a school where your own team or leadership see play like something out of a Breughel painting, then Play Projects might just be the approach you are looking for!
Play School TV
Greg created Play School TV as a sprinkle of magic and joy over life and learning. Join him as he explores Adventure Island, a magical world of story and make-believe with his two little dogs, Bonnie and Eppie, as well as a host of other characters including Zoomer the Number Dog, Bob The Brick, the Magic Mustard Tin, and Tiny Ted, with many new and wonderful friends to meet along the way.
Adventure Island is all around us. Cracks in the walls, secret tunnels, mythical creatures, heroes and villains, hidey holes and the Land Of Far Away are where Adventure Island come to life. We want our young children to engage in the world of story and books, and what better way to do it than to live in it.