Early Childhood Learning Hub
Learning guides and teaching resources for
Willow the Wonderer picture books
"The perfect early years learning books"
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to
teach and inspire
Using Willow the Wonderer books creatively to support early childhood learning
An early childhood educator, Reshmi Gosai, came across our Willow the Wonderer picture book series recently. Excited by the possibilities that the book presented in engaging the little ones in her childcare centre in learning, she immediately snapped up one of our premium giftsets featuring the two picture books and a gorgeous plush toy of little Willow.
Seeing the Willow the Wonderer picture books being embraced by an early childhood educator was in itself gratifying. But what really amazed us was seeing the creative ways in which Reshmi extended the learning through developing new learning outcomes and creating engaging new activity.
With Reshmi and her community's permission, we are sharing her fantastic report on Willow the Wonderer, in case it inspires others to use the books in new and interesting ways to support early childhood learning of their little ones.
Early years learning books that teaches both - knowledge and wisdom
Willow the Wonderer picture books are stories about knowledge and wisdom - and it is this unique combination that makes them the perfect early years learning books.
Author, Reeta Dhar, discusses her and Darren's (the books' illustrator's) unique approach to producing picture books and why they make the creative choices they do.
She discusses what 'wisdom' means to them and why they went ahead and also included 'knowledge' i.e. specific early learning outcomes, in every book.
Best of all, she outlines the efforts they go to make early learning effortless - and that means making early teaching also effortless.
A great read for all parents, teachers and educators interested in early childhood development.
The message in Space Odyssey is exactly what kids need to hear today - it also introduces them to the science of astronomy
Nothing evokes wonder like tales of space travel, which is exactly what our little wonderer ends up experiencing in his third book - Space Odyssey. He learns the wisdom of astronauts and discovers a deep sense of connection with his home planets and all things and beings there.
Author, Reeta Dhar shares the backstory and inspirations that went into shaping this grand narrative and the profound wisdom that it imparts.
In researching for the book, she learnt about the human story behind the Apollo and Voyager missions and the phenomena that has come to be known as the Overview effect. She wove the deep feelings these evoked within the folds of her narrative, hoping to that readers of all age will walk away with a sense of the wonder that the astronauts must have felt.
A wonderful resources for all parents, teachers and educators reading the book to their little one with plenty of anecdotes to share afterwards.
Make Learning Fun: Words and Numbers
Teachers and early childhood educators who have recently bought or were gifted our new book, Willow the Wonderer, are telling us they love using it in class!
Encouraged by their feedback we are developing a series of teaching aids to accompany the book. These will cover the basics like developing literacy and numeracy skills to more advanced subjects such as creative writing, art, folk literature, poetic rhythm and meter, and of course explore the philosophy and wisdom of happiness.
This first guide focuses on using the book to develop literacy and numeracy skills - the good news is that there isn't much 'teaching' involved at all!
Introduce Poetic Metre to Young Children
Not all poems rhyme but every poem is written to a rhythm - getting the rhythm right is rather important when writing in verse.
Willow the Wonderer's consistent and structured rhythmic pattern makes it perfect to introduce the concept of poetic metre (i.e. writing to a rhythm) to young children.
Learn About the Fabulous Tradition of Fables
Willow the Wonderer is an 'accidental' fable.
In this blog we explore this most enduring form of folk literature, providing a brief overview of the history of fables and our modern day interpretation of this literary form.
An informative and thought provoking read for students and educators of literature.
Cook Up a
'Wise As' Story
The tale of Willow the Wonderer as you read today was born through a series of deliberate actions, fortuitous accidents, past influences and creative choices.
In this blog author, Reeta Dhar, provide a retrospective on the different factors that came together to shape what we now refer to as 'wise as stories'.
An interesting insight into the creative writing process - and no, it's never a straight line. Lots in here for students and educators of narratives to unpack.
Art of Illustration
Darren Pryce is highly awarded illustrator and artist, recognised amongst the world's best, with a career spanning over thirty years.
In this blog he shares his inspiration and approach for developing the unique and beautiful illustration style for Willow the Wonderer.
An intriguing insight into the creative process, this is a great read for all art, graphics and design students and educators.
What is the 'right' age to talk about happiness to young children?
Willow the Wonderer is an enchanting picture book about the search for happiness. A question that has come up a number of times in reviews and conversations though is 'what is the right age to talk about happiness with children? Is it too deep and philosophical a subject for the young ones?'
These question goes to the heart of why Darren and I decided to pick up our pens and pencils and produce the Willow the Wonderer picture books.
We share our thoughts on happiness and the impact of the narratives we grow up with in this blog.
An ode to books I studied at school that shaped me
I grew up in the Fiji Islands - and yes, it was as idyllic as it sounds. Balmy climate, ripe mangoes straight off the trees, fresh fish, prawns and lobster ... I could go on. But if I had to choose, my best childhood memories revolve around the time when school holidays were ending and it was time to return back to school.
Why? Because that was the only time in the year when we would receive new (well newish) books.
Here's a nostalgic look back at those wonderful times and an ode to the books I studied for English Literature that went on to shape me. Hope it inspires others to love 'back to school' time as much as I did!
Author & Artist Visits
enrich the learning experience
Reeta & Darren
When we can, we love to get out and spend time with our readers. It ends up being an educational and memorable experience for both our readers and us.
We prepare for each session by working with teachers and educators to develop a tailored program for their students that is engaging and also delivers to key learning outcomes.
We are happy to volunteer our time for not-for-profits working with children coming from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. We request to be compensated for our time and efforts with all other organisations.
Get in touch to organise a visit to your early education and childcare centre or school.
What Educators Say
I loved your picture book. Mel bought a copy for me and I will be reading it to my class at the beginning of the year :)
Primary School Teacher
The book reading was so lovely. Would love to have you in our daycare.
Early Childhood Educator
It's perfect for little children and big ones too - has rhyming, counting and philosophy.
“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”