Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday 9 September 2017

Creativity with Nature

Join Coral Tulloch, Tasmanian illustrator and children's book creator, on her mission to bring students and the natural world together through an innovative Natural Pedagogy program in Western Australia.

I have been so incredibly fortunate for many years now to have been asked to go to Western Australia to work at schools for the Association of Independent School of Western Australia (AISWA). Apart from the many school visits I have done with them – covering a broad span of schools from the long established to the tiny and low ICSEA, from community schools in remote areas, to bustling inner city - and schools specifically for disengaged students to the most interesting community schools –  each time there has been so much for me to learn, apart from what they believe I can deliver and bring to both the students and teachers. Each time they have challenged me incredibly.

This time I was nervous! Sure, I’ve been asked to do early childhood before, but it’s not my area of expertise, and I was nervous. But I also knew that AISWA have faith in the people they bring across and believe we can achieve the outcomes they desire. Even after all these years of being with them, I was still shaking at the concept of three days working with four year olds!

My role this time was to work in Nature Pedagogy with early childhood. Our first stop was at Margaret River Independent School, (one I had worked with previously and loved), to help them create a work that would be saleable to the public for their Nature Trail associated with their school.
We  set up an art studio for them, and worked on various mediums before settling on the concept of a b/w map, to be rolled like a scroll, for people to add their own experiences to and to colour in. The photo that is attached is before the Noongar names of the plants have been added. The back of the scroll contains the Noongar seasons and explanation of the plants and their usage.

The second week, I went to Heritage College in Perth and worked with 4 year olds, going to their bush school outing, collecting and then interpreting what we had found. Also working with various materials in scientific drawing. A challenge for me to see the four year olds, concentrated and loving the interpretation of each object that caught their attention. They felt and smelt and drew and painted the natural world, translating in both realism and abstract.

We also set up an art studio for them to continue with their work. But I think some of the things they loved the most was making paint with the pebbles, dirt and water from the creek, embossing paper while it was wet in the bush, hunting out strange and beautiful forms and shapes and making their own paints back at school with everyday items, such as turmeric, five spice, mud, and salts.

I thank AISWA for getting me out of my area of comfort, for extending my abilities and confidence and joy in this engaging project. I received the same back from all of the gorgeous children and engaged teachers that I was so privileged to work with.

Coral Tulloch
Children's illustrator
FB: www.facebook.com/cloudyseas


  1. What a challenging and rewarding opportunity to influence and impact the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of young children as they discover the wonders of the natural world around them.

  2. One of the most exciting things about working in education is that you nearly always get an outcome from an activity that was never in your planning...kids do that...aren't we lucky.