From Beatrix …….to Harry

from beatrix to harryFor a considerable number of years Longford County Council’s Arts has developed projects the purpose of which have been to encourage creative writing skills and an appreciation of literature among Longford’s primary and secondary school students.

The process has yielded some highly innovative and imaginative projects not least of which have been, the children’s collaborative novel; All Because of a Toothbrush in which over three hundred students in over thirty primary schools actively co operated to develop the story line and the characters of a charming children’s novel.

Another milestone in the nurturing of children’s creative writing was the development of our De-scribe programme. De-scribe was a two year pilot programme designed to develop and test a highly original approach to developing the creative faculties of even the very young primary school children. The development of the De-scribe programme also resulted in the establishment of four children’s writing groups in the county.

These are just two examples of an extensive, year-round programme of supports organised to encourage children’s creative writing. Through the high level of activity in this area The County Arts Office has forged an extensive network of partnerships with various stake holders in the sector such as; school’s staff and principals, parents, artists and administrators.

We therefore decided to utilize this locally based reservoir of experience and expertise to assist us in exploring new structures and techniques in the development of our writers and readers of tomorrow. Rather than going down the route of devising a work plan or schedule, which we felt was too prescriptive and rigid an approach, we decided to form a focus group from our pool of partners and to ask the group to assist us in generating a set of guidelines or reference points for the future development of our work in this area. With the financial assistance of the Arts Council we engaged the facilitator Anne Gallagher to motivate and guide the work of the focus group and we would like to take the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Anne and all the members of the focus group for their effort commitment and enthusiasm.

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