Education

-Edward Lysander Clark (nearly 8 yrs)

Read for joy – no other reason can be as compelling.

Alice Bianchi-Clark

Education for Children

Alice is a children’s educator with a passion for literature. She encourages children to step into literature through her book-themed clubs, book-themed parties and book-themed travel tours.

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A Bear Called Paddington
M. Bond
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Winnie the Pooh
A.A. Milne
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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

L.F. Baum

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Mary Poppins

P.L. Travers

Book-Themed Clubs

Book-themed clubs for children are her son’s brain child. They are designed to foster an appreciation of literature through play. Activities include literary sofa discussions, creative writing, drama, song-writing, poetry, rhyming, illustration, character analysis, vocabulary building, even good old-fashioned grammar.

Past book-themed clubs include:

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy by F.H. Burnett
  • Pinocchio by C. Collodi
  • Little Women by L.M. Alcott
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L.F. Baum

‘You have a book club and I don’t; it’s so unfair.’

-Edward Lysander Clark
(nearly 8 yrs)

Play to Learn

All Book-themed Clubs invariably start off with a game. All games are steeped in literature and are designed to be thought provoking.

For example, for Little Lord Fauntleroy by F.H. Burnett, Edward and I created a game based on Monopoly to promote community spirit. This is in line with the book, whereby Little Lord Fauntleroy wins over his community with his acts of kindness. The children were invited to think up acts of kindness and mishaps to add to the game that could win or lose marbles for their community.

Acts of Kindness included:

  • You give up your seat on public transport for an old lady. She smiles.
  • It’s raining heavily and all the snails are out on walkabout. You rescue ten along the path to avoid them being trodden on and place them in a garden.
  • You make chicken soup for your neighbour, who is ill

The Mishaps included:

  • You had a picnic and littered the beach. Oh-oh!
  • You were playing football at a play date and smashed a neighbour’s window. Oh-oh!
  • You scribbled on a library book. Oh-oh!
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Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling
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Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling
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Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling
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Peter Pan
J.M. Barrie
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Peter Pan
J.M. Barrie
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Matilda
Roald Dahl
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Matilda
Roald Dahl
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Charlotte's Web
E.B. White
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Charlotte's Web
E.B. White
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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
M. Rosen
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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
M. Rosen

Book-Themed Parties

Book-themed children’s parties are an extension to her book club work. They are an extravaganza of mostly team-driven drama, sports, art, music, science and literary games.

  • The Hungry Caterpillar by E. Carle
  • The Tiger who came to Tea by J. Kerr
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by M. Rosen
  • A Bear called Paddington by M. Bond
  • Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs by I. Whybrow
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • The Little Prince by A. de Saint-Exupéry
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Feel to Learn

Stories resonate with children because of how they make them feel. The story is not what matters, rather how the story touches each child. This is the principle behind Alice’s book-themed parties. All activities are steeped in literature and the children gain a heightened awareness of the essence of each book by stepping into the character’s shoes.

For example, for Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, the children spun cobwebs with pipe cleaners and wool as well as with scissors and black paper. These cobwebs were passed around among the children and personalised. Each child added a single adjective, a virtue, to describe their friend. This mimics how Charlotte, the spider, pays tribute to Wilbur, the pig, in the book. These virtues spelled in silvery letters validated the children and made them feel valued by their peers. As E.B. White claimed, "with the right words, you can change the world."

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Book-Themed Travel Tours

The travel tours are also an extension of Alice’s book-themed clubs. Museums become playgrounds for treasure hunts, local delicacies double as treats, cities become an immersive book club.

Past tours include:
New York
Stockholm
Paris
Helsinki
Amsterdam
London
Florence
Rome

Experience to Learn

Alice’s book-themed tours are based on the principle that experiences are what we remember best. Children are literally invited to step into the books they read and inhabit their characters’ world.

Pictures from Pippi Longstocking, Junibacken, Stockholm

How else could Pippi Longstocking’s Villa Villekulla come to life in the absence of a trip to Astrid Lindgren’s museum? Just like Pippi, Edward lay in bed with his feet on the pillow instead of his head. He baked ginger snaps in her kitchen and rode her spotty horse.

Pictures from Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, England

Book-themed travel tours are a treat for children, who have spent time immersed in the pages of their favourite books. For example, after scrupulously reading twenty of Roald Dahl’s children’s books, Edward and I travelled with our good friends, Anu and Sahil, to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, England. We followed a path in the wood on the outskirts of town that doubled as the setting for Fantastic Mr Fox, Danny The Champion of the World and Billy and the Minpins. On the high street, we discovered Matilda’s library, Danny’s petrol pumps and the Tudor building that inspired Sophie’s orphanage in the BFG. In the museum, we found the yellow door to the garden shed where Roald Dahl penned his books and the ingenious chair he constructed to sit and write in. We booked a storytelling session, with a teller, who recited from Revolting Rhymes. We booked an archive tour and were shown early drafts for Fantastic Mr Fox and Esio Trot; Roald Dahl’s stamp collection and summer diary; his enormous shoe, which Quentin Blake immortalised in the BFG; as well as the jacket Johnny Depp wore to impersonate Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was an extraordinary experience.