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SJS Building on Ideas from the Thinking Hands Symposium

 Director of Early Years at Stamford Junior School, Samantha Weeks, was lucky enough to be invited to a symposium organised by the Clayground Collective at Central St Martins, London, on Wednesday 17th September. Samantha is passionate about the place of expressive arts in early childhood education and this was a valuable opportunity to look at the significance of clay work in particular, from a range of perspectives.

Around 50 professionals, including artists, educators, arts professionals and medics, came together to look at research regarding the significance of hand skills and how important these are in a child’s development. Eye surgeons, dermatologists and neurophysiologists all spoke with passion about how re-engaging their students with clay work and drawing had helped their students to improve their abilities.  Bruce Noble, consultant eye surgeon, outlined how he uses his skills as an artist to teach his students to draw as a way of understanding what they are seeing as they prepare for surgery.

Samantha said of the event, “It was a thought provoking and inspiring day that delved into the relationship between the digital revolution - including 3D printers - and traditional hand skills.”   

Samantha will continue to work on this new research project, and The Clayground Collective hope to put together a handbook to be used within schools, including case-studies to illustrate the significance of hand skills across a breadth of disciplines. As a result, Stamford Junior School will continue to embed traditional hand skills within their curriculum.  Involvement with this exciting project serves as inspiration, justification and motivation to support the development of hand skills alongside the development of digital creativity.

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