Stitch Education is launching in Hull

The news is out! As of September this year, I’ll officially be launching Stitch Education, a new course for schools which will see creativity being celebrated through arts and storytelling. I spoke to Laura O’Donnell, who runs Really Hull, to tell her about the project. You can see the original article here:

http://www.reallyhull.com/2015/06/11/people-laura-smith-stitch-education/

We caught up with Hull writer Laura Smith, who specialises in educational writing and has devised a new project, Stitch Education that she plans to roll out in Hull schools from September. She tells us about all about Stitch, and about her love for Hull, a city “that doesn’t feel like it’s going to get too carried away with itself.”

Hi Laura, give us the lowdown on your new project.

Stitch Education is a complementary curriculum for children who may be held back from reaching their full potential at school – whether that’s due to behavioural issues, learning difficulties or other reasons. It’s a programme of sessions that tie into subjects on the curriculum; the sessions are classroom-based but use creative and kinetic learning. Stitch is very ‘hands-on’, centred around arts and crafts and teamwork. The programme gives kids permission to use their energy and be a bit wacky for an hour or so, while building confidence and social skills to help them improve at school.

stitch logoHow is Stitch unique?

I don’t know of anything else out there that uses creativity and art quite like this. There are other courses that teachers can use to run alongside the standard curriculum; courses that, like Stitch, enable children to learn in a context that is separate from their usual teacher and their usual class setting. But no, there’s nothing exactly like Stitch.

How did the idea come about? What’s your background?

I used to work at Thomas Ferens Academy in Hull as a Teacher of Adventurous Learning. (We love that job title.) The premise of my role was similar to what I hope to achieve with Stitch. I’d come up with ideas and inventions to help kids use their imaginations and become more engaged – whether that was by pretending to be spies or crawling through school corridors like we were in a maze! I loved the job but eventually decided to go back to freelance writing, which was what I did before going into teaching. I then realised I had a huge backlog of teaching ideas that I still wanted to put into practice. I also missed the interaction with the children and thought that going back into schools on a freelance basis would be the perfect solution.

Your favourite things about Hull?

I’ve recently got into poetry and spoken word events, like Away With Words. Events like that seem to be popping up all over Hull. I don’t get up [to perform] myself though! I’m also really into what the Hull Independent Cinema Project are doing. Generally, I like the grass roots stuff, and there’s loads of it, which is great. I lived in Beverley for a couple of years until recently; now I love that everything is in walking distance and I don’t spend loads on taxis anymore!

I like having friends to visit who haven’t been here for a while, who – despite their preconceptions – admit that Hull is actually cool now. It is changing for the better, but it still feels like somewhere that will never get carried away with itself.

And what’s next for you?

I plan to launch Stitch in schools this September, and will continue my work as a freelance writer, writing education packs for schools and working on other projects. And I’ll also be enjoying living in Hull and seeing all the exciting stuff happening in the city over the next couple of years!

Find out more about Laura’s Stitch Education project or her other work by contacting her on email: stitch@stitcheducation.co.uk, Twitter: @StitchEducation or via her website: http://www.laurasmithwriter.com

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