It was National Poetry Day last week, and I was lucky enough to be invited to visit educational institutes across the Midlands, including two primary schools, and Newman University. I worked with students ranging in age from reception, right up to higher education, and the one thing I say to everyone I meet no matter how old they are, is ‘anyone has the potential to be a Poet.” I love challenging people’s expectations and preconceived misconceptions about what Poetry is, and what it can do. So why invite a Poet into your educational institution? Enrichment, engagement, and education.
When I was in year 6, my English teacher showed me “The Highway Man” by Alfred Noyes and it opened my eyes to romance, violence, ghostly apparition, and all manner of splendour that could appeal to a lively imagination. I remember the thrill I felt then, a feeling which I have spent my life seeking to replicate since. The poem wasn’t on any curriculum, and it was only thanks to a teacher deciding that the class needed additional enrichment and challenging content to stretch our minds, that I ever encountered it in the first place! This tale brings me to my first point-
First of all, we are aware of how restrictive the prescribed curriculum can be. Through no fault of the teachers, it is often the case that there are repetitive themes, outdated topics, and tired subject matter. Despite overhauls of curriculums and reading lists, children are often alienated and disengaged from the content, and after the claims that poetry could be ‘dropped’ from focuses of study in 2021, highlighting the beauty and necessity of poetry has never been more vital.
Poetry workshops lead by a living, breathing Poet can help propel students’ interest in contemporary poetry, and literature overall. Who knows where their future might lead after being exposed to the rich, diverse and inspirational culture of modern literature!
Poetry can also be great for your mental health. Students can be encouraged to write their thoughts and emotions, explore their frustrations and disappointments, and work through life’s challenges in a healthy way. This can be a great skill to introduce at an early age, although I use a technique called free-writing at the start of every session I lead to help express any emotional blockages hat may be hindering the creative progress, no matter the age of the cohort I am teaching!
This variation in routine, interruption of the norm, and exciting new approach to the written form can help sharpen attention, encourage expression, and broaden horizons.
Introducing poetry workshops to your school is also a great way for students to develop their written skills in a way that they might they might continue to explore out of school time. Creative writing isn’t just an outlet for inspiration, but through the implementation of interesting games, unique exercises, and a healthy dose of imagination, it’s a fun and alternative way for children to work on their grammar, punctuation, spelling, and literary craft overall without it feeling like “difficult work.” In older students it might help them shape their idea of what they want their careers to look like growing up, and opens the door to conversations about various pathways they might take in their higher educations and employment.
We have great testimonials* from schools and organisations such as:
Birmingham Children’s Trust
Writing West Midlands – Spark Young Writers
Chase Grammar Prep School
Chase Grammar High School
Penns Primary School
Whether you are interested in a whole-day event with each year group individually, or a half-day short workshop, to enquire about booking a creative writing event for your students please don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com
*Testimonials may be acquired upon request