January 2019 Seminars: Pete Moorhouse – Woodwork a Froebelian Occupation

UPDATE – 18/12/18 – These seminars are now SOLD OUT!

on Thursday 10th January 2019 (1.00pm – 4.00pm) or Friday 11th January 2019 (9.00am – 12 noon) 

Pete Moorhouse is an Artist Educator and Early Years Consultant

My practice had been very much influenced by Froebel’s principles which I believe were well ahead of his time. I am passionate about our hands and minds working together and encouraging creativity. I have just been trying to get schools all over the country to reintroduce woodwork – just as it was so commonplace in Kindergarten. I am always looking for opportunities to spread the word about the wonders of creative woodwork for early years children.

Participants will have hands on experience of woodwork as well as information about Woodwork and the Curriculum, suitable equipment, health and safety and risk assessment.

This seminar costs £40 and includes refreshments and all materials.  Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Please see attached pdf for booking details.

Froebel and the Occupation of Woodwork by Pete Moorhouse

Pete Moorhouse, who last year led an inspiring Saturday Seminar for the Network on the topic of woodwork, has kindly shared with us, this very interesting article that he has written about Froebel and the occupation of woodwork which you can download as a pdf.

His new book “Learning Through Woodwork; Introducing Creative Woodwork in the Early Years.” Is available now from all good booksellers.

Saturday Seminar 13th January 2018 – Players & Storytellers

Just a reminder that our Players & Storytellers Seminar takes place this Saturday (13th January 2018) at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. The day runs from 9:30 until 3:45 and costs £10.

There are only around 30 tickets left, so if you would like to attend, please book directly with the Storytelling Centre by phone, 0131 556 9579, or in person, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR. Opening hours, Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12-6pm.

For details of the programme please see the blog post below.


Saturday Seminar 13th January 2018: Players and Storytellers – Practitioner Research Projects

The Edinburgh Froebel Network Saturday Seminar, Players and Storytellers; practitioner research projects funded by the Froebel Trust and presented at our recent conference, will take place at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Saturday 13th January 2018. The day runs from 9:30 until 3:45 and costs £10. Please book directly with the Scottish Storytelling Centre (details at the bottom of this post).

Seminar Programme


Sharon Imray – “Goldilocks eated the three bears … yuk!”

Chris McCormick and Shauna McIntosh – “The Story of our Stories” or “How Cameron House Climbed the Magic Beanstalk”


Alison Hawkins and Moira Whitelaw – “Stories Here, Stories There, Stories Actually Everywhere”

Rhian Ferguson – “Children’s Narratives: a look at the importance of listening to, facilitating and nurturing pretend play and storytelling in an early years setting to support children’s literacy development”.

12:00 – 1:00

Lynda Bardai – “A Bag Full of Stories – an Adventure with Props”

Rosemary Welensky and Lucy Macfarlane – “Woodland Stories and Adventures”

1:00-1:30 Break


Elaine Fullerton – “Fix Fix Fix – Olav is Stuck – supporting children to tell the story that they really want to tell”

Deirdre Armstrong – “Superheroes and imaginative play: are we losing opportunities for our children?”


Catriona Gill – “Players and Storytellers: Supporting Writing in Primary One”

Teresa Bolger – “Rescue Knight Coming! …. And follow me, follow me and now we are out of the cage. Embodied Adventures Exploring the Literacy of Movement within a Wild Natural Place”

You will find more information on the content of the presentations here Saturday Seminar Programme Players & Storytellers 13th January 2018


Please book direct with the Storytelling Centre by phone, 0131 556 9579, or in person, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR.

Opening hours, Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12-6pm (Closed 24/25/26/27/31 December and 1/2 January)

Saturday Seminar – Woodwork

On Saturday 3rd June, we held our third Saturday Seminar which explored woodwork as a Froebelian occupation.

The seminar was led by Pete Moorhouse, an Artist Educator and Early Years Consultant who has extensive experience of working with young children on woodwork. Pete’s practice has been very much influenced by Froebel’s principles. He is passionate about hands and minds working together and encouraging creativity. He has been trying to get schools all over the country to reintroduce woodwork, and is always looking for opportunities to spread the word about the wonders of creative woodwork for early years children.

Pete talked to us about the history of woodwork with children which can certainly be traced at least as far back as Froebel. By the turn of the nineteenth century, almost all schools provided woodwork for children and it was an integral part of early years pedagogy. Both the Rachel McMillan Open Air Nursery School and Susan Isaac’s the Maltings House School incorporated woodwork areas. By the 1950’s and 60’s schools were turning away from woodwork and by the 1980’s and 90’s it was almost completely gone from nurseries due to a culture of litigation and fear of risk.

However, woodwork empowers children, it builds confidence and gives children a sense of agency. It covers most areas of the curriculum and supports children to think critically and solve problems.

Not having a woodwork area means that children miss out on important experiences including the opportunity to assess and manage risk.

Pete then introduced us to the tools that were most appropriate to use with children and we explored how to use them.

We had lots of opportunities to give it a go and create our own objects.

Seminar feedback

“A workshop not to be missed! So many tips and tricks to ensure working with wood and tools is a successful and fulfilling experience for children. Great to have the opportunity for the practical experience too – very therapeutic!”

“[I] now have more confidence in the use of tools and how to introduce these to the children. I was reminded of how many learning opportunities are supported through woodwork.”

“[It’s] given me a great insight into the possibilities at the woodwork bench and how we can extend what we are already doing.”

“Having attended this session with hardly any woodwork experience, I am leaving inspired, confident and excited to develop the skill, knowledge and practice of woodwork with the children, staff and families.”

“The light bulb moment has to be the sanding board, so simple yet so effective.”

“I can’t wait to set our woodwork bench set up and get going!”
Pete Moorhouse’s website can be found here.

Pete’s book Woodwork in the Early Years, can be found here as a downloadable pdf or ordered as a print copy.


Saturday Seminar – Schema

On the 27th May we held our second Saturday Seminar which explored how understanding children’s schema, supports mark making and early literacy.

The seminar was led by Stella Louis, an accredited Froebel travelling tutor who has been involved in extensive work on sharing knowledge and understanding of young children’s schemas with parents.

The seminar focused on helping practitioners to use schema theory to analyse children’s symbolic representations and plan next steps to better understand the links between, symbolic representation, mark marking, thinking and emergent writing.

Books about Schema

Stella described how schema are life long, cross cultural and travel over space and time. Stella challenged us to identify drawings by a young child, prehistoric art or art from another culture. It was a challenge!

Examples of radial schemas – who drew them?

Feedback from participants included

“[I now have] a much deeper understanding of observation interconnections and the vital role the adult plays in supporting schematic behaviour.”

“Keen to continue to develop my knowledge of schema and share with colleagues the huge emotional importance of schemas and the importance to children’s development.”

“As a team [we’re going to] look at quality of observations, planning and resources to support and extend.”

“So much to take away from today. This will influence future staff meetings.”

“I will carefully consider my observation and would like to support others at work to do the same – considering SIGNIFICANT learning and how to develop concepts behind particular schemas.”

“[I] valued the opportunity to revisit this subject in some depth and to be inspired by Stella. Will now work on staff development.”

“I hope to spread my knowledge of schemas with my team and adapt my observations.”


Stella Louis is an early years consultant who has worked as a nursery nurse, nursery manager, DCE course coordinator and Early Years Training coordinator. She wrote her first book in 2008 on understanding children’s schemas and has had articles published in Nursery World and Early Education. 

Stella has developed a sustained interest in working with parents and is involved in research on sharing knowledge and understanding of young children’s schemas with parents. Stella is currently studying for a Doctorate in Education and is a Froebelian-trained travelling tutor, working in the UK and in South Africa in an initiative funded by the Froebel Trust.

Edinburgh Froebel Network Saturday Seminars are supported by the Froebel Trust.

Guest Blog – Clay Seminar

We are delighted to post a guest blog from Laura MacPhail, who attended the Clay seminar on 13th May 2017.

Laura:  Feeling confident and inspired by the practical Clay Workshop led by Thelma Miller I took a mobile clay kit into Nursery.

The children were curious and keen to experience manipulating the clay for themselves. It was the first time they had worked with clay and there was a lot of discussion around how the clay felt and changed as they worked with it.

The children could connect the clay to mud and the ground and wanted to learn more about where it came from.

They made up stories about their clay creations which they shared with each other.

The children were very engaged, exploring, experimenting and playing with this natural resource.


Thank you Laura for sharing your work.

Saturday Seminar – Clay

On the 13th May, we held our first Saturday Seminar which explored Froebel’s 20th Occupation, Clay.

The workshop was led by Thelma Miller, an accredited Froebel travelling tutor, and together we explored the special properties of clay, how to look after it and how to make it manageable in a setting. We were encouraged to think about why it is such an important experience for children and how to support and extend their learning.

Feedback from participants was fantastic.

“What a wonderful sensorial experience that connects us to the earth – wonderful for all humans.”

“Loved it! Great to share practical work led by an expert.”

“What a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning- empty head thinking time- who needs a spa!”

“It was inspiring and really enjoyable!”