As part of my personal project, I have been gaining a firsthand insight into the workshops and children’s activities at Casa del Lector. I have been thrilled by the enthusiasm of those that facilitate the workshops and activities and their eagerness to help me with and to participate in my project. The following blog post is a translation of a series of questions that I put to Patricia Garrido regarding her experiences as a workshop facilitator and her opinions on the best ways to generate an interest in literature and culture amongst young people.
How long have you been running workshops for children?
I have been running workshops with children since 2004.
What is the typical format of a children’s workshop?
- Presentation of the workshop leader and of the workshop (if it is a small group then I also like to get the children to present themselves.) I try to get the children’s participation right from the very start by asking them questions (often I find that that they don’t know exactly what the workshop is going to be about) and I use the element of surprise and humour to keep them interested in the topic.
- Development of the workshop: The function of the content of the workshop will vary depending upon the nature of the workshop but I almost always use stories (made up stories, traditional ones or stories taken from books) and then I set out the creative project from there. The project is prepared in such a way that all children that attend the workshop will be capable of finishing it (using templates or stencils, patterns or guidelines etc) and so that the more creative members of the group can also contribute their own ideas towards it.
- End of workshop. Before finishing, I like the children to show the work they’ve produced to the others and to respect and admire the work of the other children.
What do you think of the facilities for children at Casa del Lector?
The area called the ‘nube’ (the cloud) is perfect for workshops because it has lots of natural light; it is a very large and versatile space and can be adapted to any type of activity.
What do you believe is the best way to generate interest in literature and culture amongst young people?
The best way to capture an interest in literature and culture amongst young people is to try to share your enthusiasm for works that you admire and to teach them about these literary or cultural ‘treasures’ in a playful, fun and creative way.
What tools or methods do you use to capture an interest in literature and culture?
I do this through the use of storytelling- ensuring that the illustrated books that I use are good quality, giving the children the creative tools to develop their own imagination: through theatre, painting, writing and arts and crafts. I want to show them that it is a source of enjoyment and that they too can create something original.
What do you like most about running children’s workshops?
I like working with children who never fail to surprise you, show a keen enthusiasm and at times can be so lucid and original.
(Answers translated from Spanish to English,thank you Patricia for your answers).