Category Archives: Statement

1987 Jah reaches secondary school age

I suppose I risk of running out of historical events in writing about the upbringing of Jah and all the family. However, I don’t think I shall run out of reflections and fortunately this blog is entitled “Adoption ReflectionsBringing up a multiracial family”. Our society in 2016 is even more multiracial than in the 1980s so the situation of a multiracial family is still relevant. Therefore let us carry on. Today I am continuing with our story.

We are now in 1987. Strangely not a single child from Jah’s Primary school went on to the school we selected for Sam. However, since Sam was so happy and learning well at his Secondary school, we took it for granted that it would be a good place to send Jah. It had fulfilled its promise of being a good environment for a multiracial society, quite in advance of its time. We did also do the requisite visit to show Jah. He was already motivated to follow his big brother and happily agreed to attend that school.

A few months ago I heard that every school in England has extra money per school year allotted to help “looked-after children” – the current pleasant terminology for adopted or fostered children. (In the year 2014/14 the sum of money was £900 per child) If ONLY Jah had had this help! Sam might not have needed it, but Jah would have benefitted I am quite sure. He had some learning block that we could not understand. It was easier for Sam, as he had come to us more or less a ‘brand new’ baby.

For any reader who has not followed this story, Jah came to us a few weeks before his fourth birthday. So many vital things are learned and absorbed during the very early days of a child’s life. More is known about this today. Jah had obviously missed out on some things, as is the case with many children who move from family to family in their early days.

However, let’s not dwell on the above. We are now just a few weeks before Jah was due to start at the secondary school and a school-related crisis had erupted. Asbestos was discovered in the building. The new entrants had to have lessons in prefabs that were set up on one of the playgrounds. The builders were very busy everywhere. It must have been a nightmare for the staff. I think the children were quite interested, but it must have been a slightly unsettling beginning to their secondary school experience.

construction workImage courtesy of xedos4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After several weeks working in these prefabs, the building works became more intense and the lower school was evacuated to an old school building in the Kings Cross area. It was deemed to be “rough”, so the children could not go out at lunchtime. The gates were shut. The children were very impressed and apprehensive. To them it sounded like being in a prison. In those days, school entrances were not usually guarded.

Today, in 2016 Sam and Jah’s secondary school has electronic passes to enter and exit, but things were more relaxed in the 1980s. (They were so shockingly relaxed, that local residents used to walk their dogs in the school grounds – with the attendant mess. Nowadays the entire site is surrounded by a metal fence – and a good thing too. This avoids dogs’ mess and unwelcome intruders.)person walking dog

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am not sure how much I shall write about Jah’s secondary school experience. As far as I remember, the aspect he enjoyed the most was an out of school activity arranged by a very gifted teacher with one or two other teachers involved –

– namely the beloved “School Journeys”

of which more another day.

Happy New Year! LEISURE ACTIVITIES with the family in the 1980s +1980s Racism.

Resuming the story of our multiracial family. . .When we moved to London in 1983, we joined a church in Camden Town. The congregation was very small and very friendly. There was one family of two children from a dual-heritage background. The mother was from Northern Ireland. The father was Asian but he died when the children were young, so the mother was bringing them up alone..

There were adults from the Caribbean, from Trinidad and Tobago, but no children.

 

There were also adults from Guyana and a delightful family from Ghana

The Ghanaian family had two tiny children and a baby, but every time their youngest could be separated from the parents, he or she was sent back to Ghana to be looked after by relatives until the young parents had finished their studies and could return to Ghana to join their children.

So we were in a multiracial setting in London, but at church there were no black children for our children to play with. Sam was already 11 years old and we hoped that he could meet other secondary age children as well as his school friends, so we looked around for another multiracial congregation. Fortunately we found one in Tottenham.

Travel to Tottenham was fairly easy by car or public transport and we attended there for many years. The children had plenty of black children and young teenagers to be with and to share ideas with.

The Minister and his wife took the children on holidays. They were very adventurous and took the children as far as Cornwall. This proved to be a learning experience for the London kids. They encountered some hostility from the Cornish children on one occasion, but I imagine that the minister dealt with the situation successfully. We only heard about this later on. The Minister and his wife took children back to Cornwall the following year. Each time many adventurous activities were available for all the children, including abseiling and caving. These holidays were excellent occasions for all.

I don’t have very clear memories about the Sunday school or the activities there, but I feel that we did as much as we could to ensure that the boys would meet other black children. We knew perfectly well the pressures that young black people had to endure in those days. Our son Sam was a well-motivated, polite and lovely young teenager, but he was frequently “picked on” by the police for absolutely nothing. On one occasion he was simply walking home from school and a policeman stopped him

London policeman

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Policeman: “What’you doing round here son?”

Sam: “I’m, walking home.”

Policeman “Oh. YES??” Sneer: “ I bet you don’t belong round here. . .”

This kind of statement was stupid from every conceivable point of view. Yes. Our house was in Primrose Hill, but if the policeman felt that black children could not live in the private houses, there was also a huge Council block of flats in our road, so obviously he could have ‘belonged’ in one kind of property along that road. (It was a very mixed community in every sense. Long may London remain like that.)

I am talking about the 1980s and I don’t want to recount the other occasions when Sam had to endure unfriendly reaction from the police. (Sadly there were a few.) However, I will say, that when I observed young black adults chatting to each other on the Underground, I sometimes noticed that they were discussing their own encounters with the police and that they were always extremely humorous about these encounters. I was quietly eavesdropping on their humorous comments. Of course I kept quiet. Their conversations were nothing to do with me, but inside me I saluted their reaction to this kind of harassment and humiliation. Clearly humour can help in many occasions. As parents when we tried to help Sam, humour was not an appropriate reaction, but among the young people themselves, it probably gave them an upper hand on the situation that they constantly found themselves in. Sharing these experiences with their friends and putting their own gloss onto the encounters would help them to deal with the injustice.

Nowadays, in 2015 I am in the grandparent generation and not involved in bringing up teenagers and I like to think that open racist comments are not so prevalent. I do not know, but let’s hope not!

Follow-on from a blog post about Children’s books, including some books about different countries around the world.

As I said in the last blog post, Lucy pointed out that I had mis-remembered some of the books our children read when they were young.

However, Anna agreed that I had remembered correctly that she hardly read any stories until the summer after her GCSEs. The first book she read then was “Catcher in the Rye”, by J. D. Salinger and after that there was no turning back for Anna. Today she reads mostly non-fiction, such as biography, History of World War 2 etc. but also a lot of fiction.

FICTION/NON-FICTION?

There is no “rule” that says that a child has to enjoy FICTION. They should be free to read what they enjoy. When we discovered that Anna loved funny poems, riddles and non-fiction, we were able to share our love of words with her in the way that suited her best. (She wasn’t keen on sitting still long enough to hear long stories.)

Currently, Nicola Morgan a very respected author, is what she might call ‘banging the drum’ that non-fiction also has a place alongside imaginative fiction and that it is equally valid. Nicola is a respected author.  She serves on the Children’s Writers’ Committee of the Society of Authors and she speaks with authority.

I know this is not meant to be a literary blog and anyway, many people may not ever have known that there has been prejudice against children concentrating on non-fiction. However, here I hope I can point to some books that might be of interest to people who wish to share with children some information and interest in other countries.

Children's Atlas           Big Book of the World

I believe I have mentioned before Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith’s “The Great Big Book of Families”. I wish that book had been available when we were bringing up our multiracial family. Fortunately we now have grandchildren to buy books for. These are lovely books to share with

them.the-great-big-book-of-familiesfamily reading

 

 

 

 

 

NOW Here is a touch of self-indulgence. A few days ago a friend said that she found one of my long-ago-published stories in a doctor’s waiting room. She was there with her granddaughter. Of course I was both surprised and delighted.

Here below is the cover of another story I wrote long ago. I believe that it still gets borrowed from libraries. Hooray!

Sammy's Xmas

Three cheers for libraries, books, writers and artists.

I end with a few Christmassy illustrations.

Santa             Imagescourtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
globe

Image courtesy of xedos4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 In the New Year I shall carry on with the story of Jah – moving towards the teenage years. . .In the mean time “Happy Christmas” to readers of this blog wherever you are in the world!

Thinking about children’s books around Christmas time (continued). Some Mistaken Memories. Some well-remembered memories.

I thought that I had an excellent recall of our children’s activities (those that I ever heard about!), their likes etc. However, Lucy tells me that I got it wrong about the children’s stories I mentioned in my last blog post.

I thought that they did not like reading books such as “Ballet Shoes”, “Swallows and Amazons” etc, but Lucy tells me that SHE did. She thinks I have got mixed up with the likes and dislikes of her other siblings. Sorry Lucy!

Maybe, when I think of books liked by an earlier generation, I’m on safer ground if I try and remember more books that I was encouraged to read by my mother and grandmother. My mother loved the E. Nesbitt stories, like “Five Children and It” etc. However, even though this may not please many writers and lovers of these books, I did NOT like them. I took exception to the fact that the big brothers always seemed to lord it over the sisters. I was NOT into male superiority. Maybe because I have a younger brother. . .

I really loved the many stories in the “Dimsie” series. Probably nobody today has heard of them. They were basically boarding-school stories, written in the 1920s. Dimsie was a really kind, interesting girl, whose mother died when she was young.

Dimsie  1920!

My mother absorbed a strange notion of the day, that Enid Blyton books were not “well-written” and she would not let me read them. However, naturally I was intrigued and borrowed them from friends whenever I could and I LOVED them. I had to stay in a cold lavatory to read them and then hide them under the mattress in case they were discovered! I think it is excellent that Enid Blyton stories are still popular today in 2015. Children can graduate from them to “better-written” stories and the enjoyment they derive from her stories is excellent. I have seen children totally engrossed in Enid Blyton stories on the underground, so engrossed that they are almost still reading them as they step off the train.

Our family was partly French and I was encouraged to read French from an early age There was a wonderful picture book about the life of a duck entitled “Plouf le Canard”. This enabled me as I enjoyed the pictures and simple story, to learn about the life story of a duck. It was very vivid and a good lesson in nature study. Then there was a story about a town in France that was flooded – maybe in order to make a dam. I can’t remember the actual details. The book was entitled “La Catherale Engloutie”. It was very dramatic. (Debussy wrote music inspired by this true story.)

I was also encouraged to read longer stories in French. One was “Les Malheures de Sophie”. Sophie was a naughty girl, who went to stay with her too-good-to-be-true- cousins. I liked Sophie!

Also there was an interesting story called “Memoirs d’Un Elephant Blanc”. This story took me to a fascinating country where my uncle lived for over 20 years – India. (Finally we get to something from another culture.)

cover Elephant Blanc  1923    Illustration Elephant Blanc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt sorry for my father when I discovered a pile of his children’s books. They were all ‘morality’ tales of the “Good Dan”, “Bad Jack” variety. On the other hand, I believe he was young when many archaeological discoveries were made in Egypt and he had some comics describing all these incredible artefacts. I pored over those comics, as I am sure he did. Those discoveries about a long-hidden culture must have excited people enormously.

A non-book related memory: I remember visiting my great-grandfather when I was a child and being introduced to his grey parrot. Then, some 50 years later I saw the same parrot in a cousin’s house. Obviously he had inherited this interesting bird. There ought to be a story in there somewhere. “What the parrot saw”. . . However I don’t think I’ll be writing that.

grey parrot

Stories about Adoption and Looked-after children. Random Musings. Long live Stories and Art!

I love it when I get feedback from people about the blog. Recently one reader asked whether I have seen the recent list published in The Guardian of 10 best books about adoption? Yes. I have, but as with most people, I can come up with my own favourite books.

My best friend at school was adopted and maybe that is why I was always attracted to stories about children who were looked after by adoptive or foster families.

One thing so amazing about life today in the internet age, is that one can discover so many things and learn so many things. If ONLY we had had this resource long ago, I think we could have found more books on adoption, or indeed more help of any other kind when we were bringing up our children. Today I entered “10 best books on Adoption” into the search engine and several lists came up – very informative.

I am just casting my mind back to some of the stories dealing with looked-after children (adopted/ fostered) that I loved as a child. Here are some:

“Ballet Shoes” by Noel Streatfeild – all 3 ‘Fossil’ children were adopted.

Ballet Shoes         The 3 Fossils

“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Mary’s parents both died

My grandmother used to read me the old story “Little Lord Fauntleroy” and we enjoyed reading it together.   I felt so sorry for little Cedric, as he was not allowed to see his beloved mother.

I enjoyed the stories about the spirited adopted girl “Anne of Green Gables” by Lee Montgomery

 “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri. I felt so sad for her when she had to leave the mountain, her kind grandfather and go and stay in the strange big city.

Heidi

Not all stories interest the next generation. None of the above stories interested our children particularly, although I am sure they would have enjoyed watching some of the modern day films made of the stories e.g. The Secret Garden and Heidi. I have loved watching those with our grandchildren.

The Secret Garden dvd

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately for this small blog entry, I do remember reading one story about an adopted child to Sam, our older son. He really liked “Thursday’s Child” by Noel Streatfeild. The heroine was another feisty, brave adopted child.

“Nothing is going to stop Margaret Thursday from making her own way in the world – not a horrible orphanage, a cruel matron, or even the fact she was named after the day she was found!” quotation from Amazon.

Dear blog-reader – if you are still reading. Here is a further reflection on stories/books. During my own childhood I so loved a story entitled “Jam Tomorrow” by Monica Redlich. It was published by Thomas Nelson and Sons   and later published in paperback. Two young Canadian cousins had to come over and live in a vicarage with their English cousins because their parents had died. I have never met anyone who read this book. I suppose it must have been reasonably successful to be published in paperback as well as hardback, but I am simply musing over the fact that a work of art can have great value even if it does not hit “the big time”. And certainly it is quite irrelevant whether it “hits big money”.  It is very likely that it will strike a chord with  somebody somewhere.

An author or an artist never really knows all the people who have been touched by their book or their work of art.

This reflection tunes in with something I am reading at present – a collection of letters written by an excellent artist Jan Daum. The letters are dated 1952 – 1957. He thought he had ‘failed’ as he never made much money from his art. However, he was a good friend of my great-aunt and many branches of our family have some of his paintings and they continue to bring great delight to all who look at them.

Jan Daum was born in Indonesia in 1892 and studied in Haarlem and the Royal College of Art in London. I found information about him via Google. He was born well before the Facebook and self-promotion age, but someone somewhere has taken the time to put out information about him on the world wide web. I have always loved his picture below.

Jan Daum's drawing

Long live stories! Long live art!

When something or someone strikes a chord with you and you can feel “proud” + Black History Month.

In today’s blog post I have jumped forward to thinking about today – 2015. I have been reflecting on the various interesting events during Black History Month and wondered what to write.

I know that some people think Black History Month is a bit artificial and it would be better if we could celebrate achievements of black people all the year round. However, I think many of the events planned will be informative, inspirational and enjoyable for all. A specific month ensures that talented black people can be celebrated at least once a year – clearly not enough but better than not at all.

When we were bringing up our boys we tried to expose them to all kinds of literature and artistic events. When they were very young we were delighted to find “Mother Goose Comes to Cable Street”. It was a book of Nursery Rhymes chosen by Rosemary Stones and Andrew Mann and illustrated by Dan Jones. It featured children with a variety of skin tones – something quite rare in those days.

Mother Goose Cable St.

 

 

Tommy T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also read to our boys poems by John Agard and James Berry.   We felt that they would be interested in the fact that they are black poets. I think they were, although as black British boys they were not familiar with patois, or settings that were 100% Caribbean.

I was certainly impressed when Sam’s school invited Benjamin Zephaniah to talk to the students. He was already a big star and a great success with the teenagers and staff.

Wicked World

Jah’s favourite book for many years was about Black Footballers. Fair enough! Football is one of his great interests.

Black Footballers

I was interested today when the grown-up Jah sounded so pleased that the Jamaican writer Marlon James has won the Man Booker Prize. Something evidently struck a chord with him.

Marlon James     (from Wikipedia)      Novelist

Marlon James is a Jamaican novelist. He has published three novels: The Book of Night Women, John Crow’s Devil and A Brief History of Seven Killings, winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

 Jamaican author Marlon James has won the Man Booker Prize for his novel inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s.

Michael Wood, chair of the judges, described A Brief History of Seven Killings as the “most exciting” book on the shortlist.

The 680-page epic was “full of surprises” as well as being “very violent” and “full of swearing”.

James was announced as the winner of the £50,000 prize in London on Tuesday.

He is the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker Prize. Receiving the award, he said a huge part of the novel had been inspired by reggae music.

Even if they don’t read the book “A Brief History of Seven Killings” by Marlon James, I imagine that many people will feel “proud” that a Jamaican writer has won such a prestigious prize.

 

Feeling under-represented – black people, minority groups and myself as a woman

As a white British person living in Britain I should not feel under-represented in my daily life. But as a white British WOMAN this sometimes happens.

I am sure that our black sons must have often felt “different” as they grew up – perhaps on campsites when we were on holiday? In a forthcoming post I intend to write more about camping abroad, but today I want to talk about “feeling under-represented” generally.

We hear how black British actors frequently find that they have to go to the United States in order to get acting roles. This should not be necessary. We have many talented black actors in Britain. Our films and television programmes should reflect our multicultural society. I remember hearing Malorie Blackman saying how excited she and her black friends were in their childhood when black characters first started appearing on television programmes. They passed the news round to all their friends up and down her street and great was the rejoicing!

Malorie

I have only once felt animosity against myself as a white person and that was in swimming baths in Singapore. I had taken our two very young daughters swimming while D. was at a meeting. Perhaps white people did not often go to those swimming baths. I do not know. Anyway, we were soon mobbed and splashed by a whole crowd of unfriendly people. The splashing frightened the girls, who were only aged about 5 and 3. I complained to the swimming bath attendants, but they simply smirked. We got out of the water and tried to make our retreat as dignified as possible under the circumstances. This was not particularly traumatic for me and to be honest I wondered whether I had made a mistake in thinking that we could swim there. Perhaps this episode was partly my fault?  But the jeering faces had upset our little  girls and I felt guilty about that.

Feeling underrepresented as a woman is altogether of a different order. As far as I knew, there was parity of salary for male and female members of staff at most of the offices I worked in. Of course I was never privy to salaries, but that is what I imagined. I am so shocked to find that this is often not so in organisations today. How can it be that women are paid less for the same work? This appals me.

When we visited Rome and had a trip to the Vatican, I felt extremely under-represented. Male nudes can be beautiful but I began to wonder why the female body was not equally celebrated. I had this overwhelming feeling again when we visited Florence. I am sure that people who know much more about Art than I do, will be able to cite many famous statues of women. Of course I know of The Three Graces and have enjoyed seeing them at Tate Britain. There are also many famous statues of Diana around the world.

I was very interested recently to hear that a 19th century sculpture of two young women dancing has been saved for the Nation. Individuals and organisations had to raise a large sum of money to prevent it going to the United States of America. I saw a photograph of the statue in the Evening Standard and resolved to go and see it before it goes back to its home in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.

The sixth Duke of Argyll commissioned this sculpture. The work is by Italian artist Lorenzo Bartolini, called “The Campbell Sisters Dancing a Waltz”.   It dates from 1821 and is on view at the Victoria & Albert Museum until 20th November. Here is my photo, together with another beautiful sculpture of a young peasant woman nursing her baby. A photographer would take a better photo, but this reminds me perfectly of the statue. I recommend going to see it in real life.

Lorenzo Bartolini - The Campbell Sisters

 

nursing mother - peasant girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe this is ‘Peasant woman nursing her baby’, by Jules Dalou 1873.  I think that one day soon I shall have to go back to the V&A to check that I have attributed this delightful sculpture correctly.

Extra note:  As someone who is currently suffering from a painful heel, I so appreciate the V&A’s plentiful supply of  wheelchairs that enable disabled people to get round the  Museum. This is clearly stretching my theme somewhat, but it is a good example of including of all kinds of people. 

Thinking of these two sculptures makes me as a woman  feel better-represented.  It would be good if all kinds of people  could be better-represented. 

Camping Holidays at home and abroad. Promoting a world view

.As we near the end of this summer – 2015 – and since D and I have just returned from the North West Highlands of Scotland, I am remembering the many camping holidays we had there as a family. The weather was usually a mixture of sunshine and rain and how we rejoiced when the sky was blue and we could enjoy the sun, the sea and the glorious views!

beside the sea 2          Scotland

 

beside the sea       IMG_0014

Another time I’ll show pictures of times we spent camping in France and Italy. I have just realised that if we had had more money it might have been a good idea to take the children to a Caribbean island, since they came from Caribbean backgrounds ,  but that would have been entirely impossible for us as a family in the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, this would have been so financially impossible that it never once occurred to us.

Sam was descended from people who came from Jamaica and Jah from people from Dominica (and England). We just had to do the best we could to tell them about those colourful islands and what we considered far more important – namely to help the children to grow up with a world view and a positive view of themselves as Black British citizens.

Black, British and Beautiful

We last left the story of Jah, when we woke up with a sudden realisation that we needed to get on quickly with our dream of adopting another boy – as Sam said “A little brother the same colour as me”.

I have previously described the many hoops we had to go through – the interviews, the visits, the references etc. As you will know by now, if you have been following this blog, we succeeded in the end.

D and I are now retired and the summer is an excellent time to go on holidays. We have just returned from a holiday in Scotland. D. is now off to Berlin with a drama group and I am going back to Scotland, near Edinburgh where Anna currently lives. I leave in the early morning tomorrow. How will I have time to prepare a Monday blog post?

The problem is solved because there is something I would like to impart to as many people as possible.

Last week we heard about an interesting project. It is the production of a calendar of photos featuring black British children. I’ll attach the flyer describing this project.

bbbflyer3-small

In case the text does not come out clearly, I’ll quote a few lines.

“Introducing our first calendar for 2016, we seek to build platforms that recognise and commemorate the pioneers, the role models, influential individuals and firsts from our Black British History – musicians, actors, producers, designers, writers, sportsmen, politicians and civil rights activists, using young black British youth to depict and portray our innovators and the significant people from our history  . . . . . 

If you would like more information, like to purchase a calendar or to get involved in future projects, please contact us”

Email:  blackbritishandbeautiful@gmail.com

P.S. Sam’s older daughter features on the calendar. Just thought I slip that piece of information in !

Jah’s school celebrates 100 years. The importance of drama and the Arts in education.

 One of the biggest excitements I can recall about Jah’s Primary school days was the celebration of 100 years of the school. There were many Centenary events.

The children were very well prepared. They were introduced to elderly past-pupils and enjoyed asking them questions. Sometimes Jah came home open-eyed, with tales of how strict things were in long-ago days. He was shocked to hear about use of the cane especially.

In the attached picture, we can see how drama was used to great effect. The children were all dressed up as they would have been 100 years ago. This dressing up certainly dramatised the whole event. When we look at the photo, however we cannot sense how worried the children were, in case their teacher actually tried to use the cane.

100 year old school(Jah is the child wearing spectacles.)

The fact that this re-enactment stays so vividly in my mind, reminds me all over again of the importance of Arts in educating children. When the children were dressed up in their clothes of yesteryear, that impressed them, but to see their own class teacher transformed into a strict looking teacher of long ago, impressed them even more. (She had not told them that she would also be dressing up!)

To continue thinking about the benefit of the Arts, some well-arranged school trips introduce children to experiences that they might never otherwise have experienced. I know that some children today are incredibly privileged, but many are not. School days and shared experiences are so important for all children.

Other Arts-related things that I remember that enriched our children’s school days are:

  • Drama groups visiting the school.
  • Learning from watching a film company make a film of Anna’s choir and school orchestra (even though she was brimming over with indignation that they mostly filmed one boy to the exclusion of the rest of the class). . .
  • An uproariously exciting visit by a Caribbean poet – I think it was John Agard. I do know that the children walked back to the school in a high state of delight and high spirits!

John Agard's poems

 

 

 

  • An outing to a children’s theatre production
  • An outing to the National Gallery
  • A visit by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah to Sam’s Secondary school.

Wicked World

When Anna grew up and became a Primary school teacher, she took the children from her Tower Hamlets school into a local churchyard. Many of the children had never really looked at wild flowers before and they really enjoyed learning the names and looking at the shapes of all the different flowers. It was a learning experience for them to discover beauty all around them.

In her role as a dance educator, Lucy did a dance project in Southampton and was surprised to learn that some of the children had not even seen the sea, so she organised a trip to the sea before proceeding with the project.

Sam has grown up to be a social worker and he told me how effective a drama workshop had been for him on a training day. The actor who was acting as a client, shot up from the hospital bed and challenged something Sam said. Sam found that dramatic intervention extremely helpful.  It was something he would always remember.

Long live drama and  the Arts!