Featured post

PAM ROYDS 1924 - 2016

Pam Royds on Grasmere , 1971 with Sally Christie, children’s author and daughter of Philippa Pearce. I was just twenty two when I fir...

About Me

My photo
United Kingdom
My blog is about writing and illustrating children's books which I have been doing since 1974. www.gillianmcclure.com has all my books. I also have another blog: www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com where I publish my father's poems.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


When I visited a Nursery school in quite a deprived area near Kettering this March, I did my workshop based on The Little White Sprite, which starts with me drawing an old hollow tree, and I was surprised at the children's vocabulary. I've done this workshop with older, less deprived children - Reception and Year 1 and they often struggle with words like 'twig' and 'bark.'

But these very young children, some only three years old, knew all about trees. Not just that, they were very receptive to the idea there might be a mysterious world inside an old hollow tree and magical creatures living there. I discovered the reason for this was they'd all participated in one of the
Forest Schools. These schools aim to 'develop a love of the natural world' and, more interestingly, to encourage an ‘understanding when to take risks and when to take responsibility.’ So my story, where a child goes through a hole in a hollow tree and plays the little white sprite inside, but then has to decide to return safely back home again, really struck a chord.


  1. Hello Gillian,
    Wonderful to see the Forest Schools mentioned, they are such a good idea. We've done a few similiar activities with children on Hampstead Heath (where I manage a volunteering charity when I'm not illustrating). It's so important that children growing up in an urban environment get the chance to experience "the wild" and that they get to practice risk taking and responsibility. It's an essential part of growing up, which can so easily be overlooked.

  2. Good to hear you so enthusiastic about Forest Schools, Loretta.