Following upon our work in June with writer, educator, and environmentalist Ann Pelo, we have invited Annie Davy to share her explorations and discoveries of A Sense of Place with young children. This will be an evening of film and conversation.
Annie’s core enquiry and interest is human development and connection and disconnection with the wider ecological world: what creates each person’s ‘Sense of their Place’ in the world? Her practices are system mapping, asking good questions, and noticing the teachings of the nonhuman world of plants, rocks, water, fire, earth, animals, insects, air, space and sky.
During recent journeys with children and parents in an inner city area in Oxford, England, we explored young children’s earliest experiences of the environment, how young children wake up to the world through their senses, and how their contact with the outdoors and with nature, even in an inner city area, affects their developing sense of self and their sense of place in the world.
I have been sharing what emerged with teachers and early educators as we developed practices for slowing down and noticing through mindful, companionable enquiry outdoors. I am keen to share this enquiry with others, to learn with and from them – in other places and other countries too.
Children’s development is a dance of experience, interaction, connection and relationships. Their thoughts, feelings, expressions and actions are shaped by the invitations of the people and attachments they make. Babies and young children are also wide-awake and receptive to the invitations of the non-human world around them: the invitations of grass and sky and insects and trees of trees; of helicopters, busses, walls and pavements.
My work is inspired by international scientists, artists, and educators, including Rachel Carson (Sense of Wonder). Loris Malaguzzi (One Hundred Languages of Children), Ann Pelo (The Goodness of Rain), and Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods). All speak to practices of mindfulness, values education and the relationship of human and wider ecological well-being.
Our Sense of Place project used filming to record conversations, enquiries and interactions outdoors. The filming enabled parents and the group to review what happened and to reflect and deepen their enquiry into their children’s journeys… and their own.
About Annie Davy
Annie studied social anthropology and education and has a Masters in Early Years Leadership. Her professional experience began as a teacher in nursery schools and as a playworker on adventure playgrounds. She has led the Early Years Service in Oxfordshire County Council for 12 years.
Annie’s current professional work includes consultancy, mentoring, action learning, and enquiry projects with a wide range of communities of practice. She works directly with children and families in their communities and on the land whenever possible. She is a mother, stepmother, and has recently become a grandmother. This new intimate relationship with a very young child has been a privilege and inspiration for her current work.