I was both inspired and encouraged to write my poems for children when, as a retired lady, I volunteered once a week to visit the children in my local primary school to help. I can recommend this lovely voluntary job to all retired people, but it appealed to me in particular because from an early age I wanted to be a teacher and all my working life I've enjoyed teaching and so the classroom is my home and where I feel quite happy and comfortable.
For three years I went into All Saints Primary School and then I went to Westville House Preparatory School where I also enjoyed a year with the children. In order to make school visits, I had to give The Poetry Society a reference from a headmaster, and this is the very kind reference from All Saints Primary School. You can read about how the children inspired and encouraged me on my INTRODUCTION
In addition to this I have since visited many other schools in my locality, and libraries etc, as many children's poets do. Oh what fun!!! Also, of course The Ilkley Literature Festival which lasts for a month.
I have enjoyed doing this so much for, apart from what I give to the children, they have given me so much to laugh about and to remember as a result of some of the things they have said and done. I could write a book on this subject.
Although I write poetry about all subjects and in different styles, you do have to amuse children at an early age with poetry or you have lost them. Apart from making them laugh often, you have to stimulate their imaginations too and stretch their minds with words, and one of the best way to do this is with rhyming poetry for from an early age they soak words up, which is quite unlike myself at my age who has struggled to remember the words I've recently learned in Italian and German. I believe that it is in the very early years that children soak up words in this way, so it is very important to present them with as wide a range of poetry as possible, not confined to giggle poetry. Oh dear! I've said this many times. This must be a sign of getting older.
As well as school visits, I love making Skype visits to classrooms, and if you haven't tried this with your class, then why not just try it with me for a very short visit. If you have bought my books for your class, I am happy to try a skype with you for about ten minutes just to say hello to the children and tell them a bit about myself. The cost of a visit to your classroom is £40 for a 40 minute visit payable via paypal. Click here
Do let me know well in advance though as I am kept quite busy and this is supposed to be my time of "retirement". Whoever invented such a ridiculous word? I've never worked so hard, but never enjoyed my work so much I must say.