I came across this gorgeous poem written by Gemma Peacock, a mum who wanted to remind her own children that although we are missing out on so much there is still much to be hopeful for. She records the children of this generation as the “Rainbow Children” where the world had time to heal and children had time to dream and create. Thanks to a friend of mine who introduced me to the poem, I was inspired to create a Lockdown Keepsake to keep in our family memory box. Gemma has very kindly agreed for it to be shared for all the children.
The poem is gorgeous and reminds us of all the hope we see reflected in our children and to look to the positives of our current situation. Izzy has added her rainbow handprints to our copy, so we can look back on how she has grown.
I have also created a little Lockdown Thank You Certificate for our memory box. It is getting to the end of the school year and the time when awards and recognition are handed out for all the kids hard work throughout the year. It is also the time of year when I would be starting to prepare our class of 2020 Graduation Party to mark all our ARTY achievements, but sadly we will not be able to celebrate together this year. I am so sad that many of my current ARTventurers will be heading on to big school by the time we are able to resume our classes.
With the news that in Scotland, our children will not be back to school until our next academic year, it is hard to know exactly when our classes will be able to safely resume.
It is not just the children in our classes though. Every child in Scotland is going to lose all their end of year ceremonies. So I have created my own certificate version, inspired by this weeks Thank You to our children by Nicola Sturgeon, in the Scottish Governments Statement.
Please feel free to download a copy of both the poem and the certificate below for your own memory keepsake boxes and to thank our kids for being the superstars that they all are.
This weekend we are told by Social Media, that we are celebrating International Women’s Day. Initially, I felt it was a little bit of another Hallmark Holiday – a day with little meaning behind it. Then I spent the weekend at our ARTventurers Team Conference in Leeds and I thought about it some more. On reflection, I realised that actually we should be shouting about it LOUDLY and unifying our tribe. As when we truly support the women around us our collective strength grows.
Before I travelled to Leeds, I was incredibly nervous about meeting this team of ladies (and one very lovely man) I admire so much. The journey from Inverness to Leeds is a whole day affair, and I can be quite an anxious solo traveller. So I was on edge all week in the run-up to going. I need not have worried.
A number of our team messaged me on route – how was I getting on, was I close, is everything ok? That made a huge difference to how I felt when I arrived in Leeds Station. Some of the apprehension had gone. I walked through the door to our hotel and a number of the ladies were in the lounge having drinks. They saw me heading in and were instantly full of welcoming smiles, hugs and opened up their world to me. I exhaled. It was going to be ok. Because this group of incredible women had my back, they acknowledged my mammoth journey and they celebrated my achievement in getting there – with a large gin and a lot of smiles – and I was safe.
Women celebrating women, welcoming them in and cheering them on. I saw this continue to happen over and over again at the Team Conference. There were awards and celebration for achievements made, celebrations over those achievements and information sharing on how those achievements came together. So we could go on to achieve them too. Even down to the counting back into the hotel at night after we had our farewell dinner. A little family group making sure everyone was home safely.
The TEAM ethos is one of the reasons I joined this glitter gang, in a sea of red t-shirts, paint and sparkle. I had read of many horror stories of Franchised businesses where the ethos was about making the branches compete against each other. I knew I could not survive in that world. Then I happened across ARTventurers and fell in the love with the Team Ethos. It was clear from what I could see online that this was a close-knit bunch who thrived by helping each other. And so, my journey began.
From talking with all of you, I have learnt just how important the support you get from weekly classes is to you. You choose to go to classes for some of the reasons the Team Conference was important to me.
To not only have a space where you can have fun and make memories with your child but also to have somewhere where you able to make those all-important social connections with other parents and families. We all need some social interaction in our week, otherwise, those walls can close in incredibly quickly. I love finding out, all about the lovely mums, grannies and dads at our classes. To chat about your interests and your previous jobs – it is as much social interaction for me as it is for you.
One of the many, many things I love about our classes is that you all get to sit and chat with each other. To reconnect and share our creative play with your friends as much as with your little ones. Similar to our team-building exercises at the conference – (anyone got a sturdy design plan for spaghetti towers made only with masking tape, string and a solitary marshmallow, I can use next year?). You have these experiences in class which are these incredibly precious shared moments.
How can we not share a laugh, when you have been covered in foam from a foam covered child, or have a go-faster stripe added to your jeans with one of the painty rollers, or even turned into the incredible hulk as the pot of green glitter is tipped over your head!!. What could be more bonding!!! These are the moments that imprint on not just our minds but your little ones too. The fun and laughter, memories made and captured are why I wanted to run ARTventurers in the first place.
The conference was an incredible learning tool, to be able to draw on the wealth of experience the other branches all have. We all had something to share that was helpful to someone else. Our classes are a great place to share advice too. I hear lots of you getting the chance to chat about teething and sleepless nights, weaning and toilet training. We celebrate and mark these milestones together.
We have all been there at some point and sometimes all we need is someone to say “we understand” or “me too”. These are the important moments of social connection that we all need to thrive. Parenting, like being in business for yourself, can be lonely. None of us has all the answers, as each child is so different. Really, we are all just winging it the best we can. But maybe collectively we can suss it out a little along the way, from our shared experiences.
In order to thrive, we need to connect. This is as true for parents as it is for our children. We choose to bring them to classes such as ARTventurers to broaden their learning, to aid their socialisation skills and to introduce them to new experiences. This is also true for me. I learnt SO much from the conference and continue to learn something new every class. My confidence grows a little more and it can be the same for you as parents too.
Many of you have come back to me after attending classes, to say you are more confident now at introducing creative learning at home. Or that suddenly your child is showing more interest in creative experiences at home. This is the essence of why I LOVE what I do. To have shared a little bit of knowledge that has gone on to help you at home, or made an impact no matter how small to your lives.
I am often told that to be in business you need to be competitive and self-focused and I just don’t believe that, and it was refreshing to find the conference also highlighted the benefits of collaborative working.
It goes against all of the GIRL POWER learning the Spice Girls gave us in the nineties. Yes, we are in business to make a living but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be supportive of each other’s journeys.
There are so many local business women that I admire. I have tried to make 2020 the year of letting them know. I have started tagging one business a month as my #artventurersfollowfriday. To highlight the incredible work that goes on all around us. I believe that like in all avenues of life, kindness and respect goes an incredibly long way in the business world. If we all strive to be the best versions of ourselves then I believe we can all succeed.
This weekend has reminded me again that I am incredibly lucky to have the ARTventurers Team. Who despite being scattered all across the country have been the most welcoming and supportive bunch. Without them, at my back, this journey would be completely different.
So, I don’t think there could have been a more fitting way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to have spent the weekend with all of them. I am in awe of these amazing women who inspire me to be the best version of me that there is. I’m so looking forward to seeing where this journey continues too. As the team continues to grow and ARTventurers enters its 10th year. I am so honoured to wear my red t-shirt. We are most definitely at our “Strongest Together”. Take a chance, live your dream and reach for those stars – you never know what might be possible. I never thought that this could be my world but here I am. Living it, being brave and having the most fun of my entire career.
Here’s to all the inspirational women – leading the way and helping us believe in and realise our dreams!
WOW, what a rollercoaster of a month I have had. I just want to thank all the babies, toddlers and mums who have joined me on my first ARTventure journey. I have loved meeting you all and getting to know such sweet little people and watching the delight and curiosity and sometimes uncertainty on their faces, as they try out new experiences for the very first time.
Our first few weeks in Balloch are over and it has been such an adventure. What an adventure it has been raising awareness for the fabulous Caudwell Children with our themed sessions, as well as a Royal endorsement as to how awesome our classes are by OK magazine.
It hasn’t been easy, I have had sleepless nights and agonised everything from my set up time, the preparation, the activities, if you have enjoyed yourselves, if I locked the hall door, if I sang in tune, if that even mattered, how was it affecting the family…my list was endless at 3am, 4 am. 6am.. BUT I DID IT! The delight on these wee faces just means so much to me, and I am slowly beginning to realise that I can overcome these anxieties and face those fears.
I started this journey to challenge myself and to offer something amazing for our community and young people. I believe in the benefits of this class for your little people and desperately wish I had been able to take my children when they were little.
I have mentioned many times, the benefits of our class for development. Physical skills such as mark making, muscle strengthening in babies, and coordination. As well as the social benefits of learning to interact with peers, sharing of equipment and props, imaginative play and creativity and social expectations during circle time. All of which help to prepare for nursery and school.
Art, in its many forms, also provides many tools for learning to cope with our mental health such as Self Expression, Self Awareness, Emotional Release, Perseverance and Confidence.
This is Mental Health Awareness week and something that matters a great deal to me is the growing demands and pressures of society on our children’s mental health. We are beginning to see these pressures taking their toll at a very young age. There are a number of reasons for this one being that world is more connected than ever before. I am honoured to give an introduction to skills that will in the future help children process these emotions and pressures.
I am looking at running a number of expressive workshops over the summer months, where children will be able to come together and work on collaborative art projects as well as creating some unique art pieces using their own self-expression skills with process art techniques to explore a variety of different ways to create art.
I hope those of you who were with us for our very first classes are still able to join us again as we start our next term, but if not I am honoured that ARTventurers and I are a part of your story. We have raised awareness during our Watch Me Fly sessions for the charity Caudwell Children, which is doing fantastic things for families with Autism. We have discovered a variety of textures, and techniques, developed muscles, learnt some core mark making skills and made some fabulous keepsakes to remind you just how little those hands and feet once were.
How awesome will it be to look back on those in a few years and see how much they have grown. 😍
Rebooking for our summer term is open now www.artventurers.co.uk/inverness/book-a-class-2 Come along and join in the fun and give your child a basis to build vital skills that will have long lasting benefits.