My aim, following a career in education, was to follow my passion to develop music and integrated arts activities for children across the ability range. Experiences gained through teaching allowed me to understand how leaning can be enhanced when pupils/students, individually and collaboratively, explore and communicate their thoughts, perceptions and feelings through performance. In addition to obtaining a degree in Music, I have a master's degree in Education Management and a PhD in Psychology. While working extensively in secondary education in Lancashire as Head of Music, Head of Faculty and as Assistant Headteacher, I was fortunate also to manage a Lancashire County Music Centre, for students aged 7-19, and to become an Arts Award Adviser (managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England), at both primary and secondary level.
Music can lift my spirits and I love exploring our fantastic environment. How fortunate, then, to have the opportunity to merge both into an enjoyable new adventure. As an author of children's environmental/arts books. My research, with 300 children aged 8-9, prior to writing 'Ava Goes Green', identified learning for key facts from an environmental story, and memory retention over a four-week period, was significantly higher when taught through an integration of the performing/creative arts as compared to silent reading or hearing the words read aloud. (Research summary available from my website.)
There is no more powerful message this century than climate change. There is no more powerful vehicle for communicating and delivering that message to children than through the performing/creative arts.
MASC to the eco-beat series is built on a brilliant concept - a theme explored in many different ways and from many different educational angles. A day in the classroom...in a book! Gordon Volke, Children's Writer My debut book,
'Ava Goes Green', is the first in a key stage 2 environmental/integrated arts series 'MASC to the eco-beat' (Music, Art, Stories, Create). It takes children on a magical journey where novel stories are interwoven with unique songs and music. A fusion of fiction and nonfiction, 'Ava Goes Green' highlights the danger to our planet from plastic pollution told, in part, by birds and animals, through an integrated learning experience. QR codes in the book direct teachers, parents or leaders to the music, song audio files and classroom instrumental parts, free to download from my website, and national curriculum objectives and outcomes. 'Let's discuss', 'Let's research' opportunities, questions and individual/group 'Let's Create' tasks in music, art, dance and creative writing, be it a rap line, an environmental art collage, an acrostic poem or a picture strip story reinforce the learning and develop children's imagination and confidence.
All activities have been designed to allow delivery by parents, out of hours group leaders or teachers alike. The imaginative illustrations in this fully illustrated book have been created by Stu McLellan, through agent Beehive Illustration. His expertise and attention to detail totally capture the magical animal world and quirky characters. I have so enjoyed my new writing experience that Book 2 in the series, 'Ava Gets Active', highlighting air and chemical pollution, is to be published soon, and Book 3, 'Ava Goes Global', is well on the way!