Putting children at the core of their learning
The story of how we came to produce this website is one of childhood experiences, determination and a real passion for teaching and learning. Giving ALL children the resources to blossom in their learning is the ultimate goal.
A learning journey starts as a child
My own school life wasn’t great. The unhappiness with school escalated when the bullying started. The feelings of being ‘always on the outside looking in’, never having the confidence to speak out in class. Trying to make myself invisible from the bullying girls who made my school life remain in my memories for the wrong reasons. Being taught in fear by the scary teachers was hard work, especially when getting things wrong in class would ensure the wrath of the giant monster in a suit bellowing down on me and the cackling girls sniggering in the background.
Having those experiences played a part in my decision to become a teacher, I was going to be the teacher I needed when I was at school. But my education was scarred! If passing GCSE’s were based on the higher the letter of the alphabet the higher your grade, I would have been the VIP of my year group. With a couple of D’s and a few F’s, my dislike of school was ever apparent. So, it was back to school for me as ‘mature student’!
Along with working full time as a Teaching Assistant in a local Primary School, school drop off’s and pick-up’s for my son, I studied for all of my GCSE’s at evening classes and a Teaching Degree (part time) at University all at the same time. Crazy times! So precious was every minute, lunch times were spent typing away in the ICT area trying to finish university assignments or revise for a maths or science GCSE. Then came my biggest university assignment, time was a struggle, the dreaded dissertation! Everything saved on my USB stick I carried it around with me like a sacred diamond, my final assignment to put an end to my 5 years of training to become that teacher that I so desperately wanted to be.
Everything was going into this dissertation. So close to the end now I could almost hear the children in my very own classroom. Rushing to type up a few more paragraphs before the children came back in from the playground, then a quick visit to the loo before going back to the lesson, my USB stick firmly in my hand. I wasn’t leaving that anywhere! I never knew flushing a toilet could suddenly make the world turn in slow motion. I watched in horror as my USB stick was sucked away. I really had just flushed my dissertation down the toilet, literally! Needless to say, time really did stand still for a few tough minutes. After a few deep breaths and quite a lot of tears, I started it again. Lesson learned – back up your USB stick!
The learning begins
So I finally did it after a couple of hiccups, I achieved my teaching degree with a high pass, along with much needed GCSE’s, a fully qualified Teacher at last, very proud moment! The children quickly became my life, I nurtured, I listened, I encouraged, I gave them hope and I believed in them. They blossomed. The hours were long, the planning and resource making was an enjoyable but time-consuming task and the marking and data was…… marking and data! I searched for a ‘magic’ website to provide with great materials to use to support my teaching, to save a little of my time so I could maybe have a little more of my weekends with my family, but nothing out there quite fitted, they just didn’t cut the mustard. The only way to get the resources my children deserved was to design and make them myself!
Every child is a learner if we teach the way they learn
After 13 years in mainstream primary, both as a Teaching Assistant and then later as a Teacher, I now needed to experience a different type of teaching, I decided to work with children who had severe and complex needs. I felt it would make me a better teacher, give me a knowledge of the ‘whole’ child and see if child-centred learning really can be effective, after all, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. Spending two years working with some of the most inspiring and bravest children I have ever known in a school for children with a range of special educational needs. I was always proud of the children I taught, but the struggles some of the children were facing daily and yet coming to school with a beaming smile on their face was truly a heart melting yet rewarding experience. I researched and scoured the internet and books to find ideas and resources. Very little support in the way of ready made resources for children working at P-Levels and beyond with special educational needs. Thinking ‘outside the box’ was a must. But teaching to this level does come at a cost. 70 hour weeks soon take their toll and impact on family life! Exhaustion hits!
Sprinkling a little magic dust on education
My knowledge of how children learned was now at an all time high. My children had blossomed, they had a new found confidence and were achieving amazing things. However complex their needs were, I didn’t stop trying, I created new resources to trial until I broke through and found a way to unlock whatever was blocking their learning. Receiving fantastic feedback was emotional, colleagues and other teachers from different schools would observe my teaching and take ideas from the resources I had designed. One parent wrote a message in an end of year book, which brought me to tears ‘thank you so much for unlocking my daughter‘. That one sentence meant so much and was part of the inspiration to do more!
With the fantastic support and help from my family ‘Apple for the Teacher’ was born. My husband had knowledge of the business side of things, my son recently studied Graphic Design and myself, 17 years involved with children and education, this was the start of our team.
Every resource is made lovingly from the heart, with children firmly at the centre. They are more than a display, more than a table top extra activity. They are REAL, USABLE, high quality materials which can be used successfully to aid the teaching of children in Primary Mainstream and Special Educational settings. Suitable for teachers, home educators and parents.
Designed specifically to ‘put children at the core of their learning’, after all, it is where they deserve to be!