Author Visit and Pop Up Workshops at Singapore American International School

It's been a great privilege to be a visiting author and artist at several International Schools over the years. I love travelling and I love working with children, so it's a great combination for me. This year I was invited to be visiting author and illustrator at the Singapore American School by Kirsten Harvey from the Elementary Art Department at this great school. It was quite a challenge! 1600 children from all over the planet, all eager to express their creative skills with Mr Paul. And that was just the Elementary School!
What great kids and what a testament to a school that really values the power of creativity and art at the core of the curriculum. The curiosity and pure joy of learning that such an approach inculcates is so blindingly obvious that it makes me wonder, yet again, what our UK politicians and their pursuit of rote learning and grammar are thinking. Or not thinking.
The moment I walked into the first of four colourful and fun art rooms I knew I was in for a treat. The elementary art teachers, Kirsten Harvey, Suzanne Heathorn, Erin Caskey, Erica Adkinson and Kelly McFadzen have created such vibrant and interesting spaces that it wasn't just the children who were excited about their art classes. Class sizes were great at just 22 but in order to see all the 1600 children, I sometimes had classes of 44. Large numbers don't really faze me, as I often have to deal with much larger numbers in the UK but even with 12 working days at the school, I had to do shorter 45 minute workshops to see all of the children in the school.
These children were great though, with art, design and creativity as a core part of their school lives, they were full of fun and the joy of curiosity and artistic expression. They were ready to go!
Here's a lovely video made by Kelly of just some of the children I worked with over the course of 18 days in Singapore.



As usual it was immediately apparent that this school treasures it's librarians. It's always a joy to visit schools that are able to give their children the best start by not only providing top libraries but also passionate and skilled librarians. It doesn't have to be a well funded international school, any school that has a good library but more importantly good librarians at the core of the children's learning, immediately stands out. To walk the school corridors with a librarian being besieged by children asking about and clearly loving their latest books and eager for the next is such a pleasure. UK education authorities please take note.
My main contact with the Singapore American School library service was Kate Brundage, who helped to make my visit such a success. I think there's been a major run on the pop up books in their libraries since I left!
Years of school visits have prompted me to design a very simple pop up mechanism to teach to the children. I've created a pop up which utilises a curved fold which has now delighted tens of thousands of children. Curved folds always surprise and delight, as their action is somewhat unpredictable and can easily be customised by each child to create something completely unique. Not one single pop up monster will ever be the same and no matter what age, the children will be giggling and marvelling at the ingenuity of their inventions. It's simple so that reception or kindergarten children can easily achieve something special, whilst older children and adults find plenty of scope to create something more sophisticated.
It's a delight to guide and watch the children and to see the looks of surprise and pride makes everything worthwhile for me. Watching the children imagine the backstory and world of their creatures is a similar thrill. Even the most reluctant of storytellers seems to effortlessly build the story of their creature and to then watch the children interact with each other is such fun and very rewarding. No two workshops are ever the same.
What was particularly interesting was to see how the children, having been given extra time by their art teacher to develop their ideas, really took their creations to the next level. There is always one child who will go even further, to create something that will have me gasping in surprise and it is not always the obvious or recognised 'gifted and talented' child. Very often it will be the shyest child, or the one who may have attention or other issues. This is perhaps the best part of my job. being able to spot a startling talent, a child with a really unusual grasp of 3D and paper folding.
As ever I encourage the children to seek inspiration and ideas in unusual places, perhaps a discarded shape, a curl of paper, or the contents of the scrap paper bin. That's where I find my inspiration, it's great for coming up with new ideas and breaking creative blocks. It is truly amazing what can be created with one sheet of A4 card, a pair of scissors and a few centimetres of sellotape!

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,

Read more after the break...


Paul Stickland, Dinosaur Roar, Dinosaur Strong, Author Visit

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop,  Author Visit,

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,

Paul Stickland, Pop Up Workshop, Author Visit,
Even more photos of my visit here...


Singapore is a fascinating melting pot and although the size of the Isle of Wight, the comparison ends there! What an extraordinary place, as a keen botanist and flower farmer, my eyes were on stalks with all the amazing tropical flora. I visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Collection as often as I could and if you want to see more of my adventures, head on over to my Paul Stickland Instagram Feed.

If you are interested in a Paul Stickland Author Visit or Pop Up Monster, Dinosaur or Bug Workshop, please use my contact form...