The Thinking behind Circles for learning:

It’s funny how things come about. When I trained at the Tavistock one of the most influential aspects was the Baby Observation sessions. Watching a baby and her mum interact for 1 hour each week over two years and then exploring the importance of relationships and learning at the very beginning of life was an immense privilege and one I never forgot. Several years ago I read the work of Guy Claxton and through this found the work from Bristol University on the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory or ELLI which identified areas or dimensions that support learning. During this time a friend of my daughters had a baby. My daughter, Katie became completely fascinated by the development of this little one. My work in school over this period was focused on setting up Work Discussion groups where I supported Individual Needs Assistants to meet the needs of a small group of children who were struggling with school, and had become stuck in their learning. During these sessions I found myself sharing work on attachment and its impact on learning, the emotional and social elements of learning and the importance of the learning relationship.

One day while drinking a cup of coffee the three thoughts became connected—the impact of watching a baby grow, the work on Learning to Learn skills and the need to develop social and emotional skills within schools, and Circles for Learning was born. Over the next few years I developed the resources for teachers to use whilst undertaking the work with children. I was amazed at how excited and involved the children became and how fascinated we all became watching our class baby grow and learn. It was the most amazing Learning Journey I had been on with children for many many years. As Other teachers found out about the work they piloted the work within their classes. They enjoyed the work with their children as much as I had and experienced some amazing moments’

Alison Waterhouse

Our Thinking:

* To bring Learning to life in the classroom and create accomplished learners with a true sense of wellbeing.

* To support the development of emotional literacy, social skills and learning relationships within the classroom.

* Provide classroom practitioners with the training and support to extend their knowledge and understanding of the complex learning experience and the impact their relationships have on learning.


Our Desire:

* To engage children in the How and Why of learning as well as the what.

* To provide children with an experience that stimulates curiosity and self knowledge.

* To support teachers create a positive learning environment and a rich learning vocabulary.

* To create a place to think, feel, explore and question where all are valued and listened to.


Our Drive:

* To create a space where thinking, exploring, curiosity and excitement about learning is valued and fostered.

* To support and promote the importance of the learning relationship.

* To provide a medium where teachers can respond to the needs of the whole child with sensitivity creativity and respect.

Who is this for?

* Groundbreakers

* People who value the whole child.

* People who understand the importance of developing skills for lifelong learning.

* People who want to share experiences and become part of a network of professionals who value the richness and diversity of emotional literacy, relationships and their impact on learning.