Imaginarium # 2017

This year, we were delighted to be able to use Fulham Palace for the Imaginarium! I wrote up this review of it on the Fulham Palace blog.

With the start of the school holidays, our educational partners from Chelsea Young Writers took up residence at Fulham Palace. The beautiful grounds provided the perfect setting for a 5 day creative writing and nature course called The Imaginarium, delivered by Will Orr-Ewing and Julia Minnear.  The sessions here at the Palace aimed to reconnect 8 – 12 year-olds with the wonder of animals, plants, rivers and the skies, taking them on a journey of discovery, learning and inspiration. Here, you can read about their experience:

The Imaginarium is a week-long summer club helping children to engage with nature, make friends and use their imaginations.

The latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary has replaced the words acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell and buttercup with attachment, block-graph, bullet-point and committee. Children have never been as alienated from the natural world as they are today, and are therefore without a relationship that has given great joy to generations before them – a relationship that has never been more necessary than in today’s culture of screens and instant gratification.

Our aim is to spark their imaginations through nurturing their enquiring young minds within the natural environment.

The club is spread over 5 days, and consists of the following themes:

  1. Birds
  2. Flowers
  3. Trees
  4. Roots, worms and bug life
  5. The sky, sun and stars

Children spent the first half of the sessions using their senses and minds to learn about these different parts of the natural world. For example, they took stethoscopes to trees around Fulham Palace to listen to the trees’ “heartbeats”, and they put on blindfolds to heighten the rich smell of the amazing array of flowers in the Walled Garden. They also roved the trees listening to birdsong to distinguish the song of the robin from that of the blackbird. In the second half of their session each day, they used all that they had learned to write short stories inspired by a new sense for the wonder of nature. The results were transformative, as attested by the parents who sat in the Palace grounds on the last day to listen to the best stories read aloud!

To find out more, get in touch via the Imaginarium website.