Nicola Call lives in the sunshine of Northern California with her husband, three children, and a menagerie of various pets. But her heart will always be back in England, where she spent most of her childhood either dreaming about horses or reading stories about them. When she wasn’t reading, Nicola was writing, so it was no surprise to anyone that she ended up majoring in English Literature at London University.
Once she graduated and started teaching in London’s inner city schools, Nicola found that her joy and creativity in the classroom became infectious, and her work was soon being noted and quoted in educational publications. She moved swiftly into management positions in several different schools, but it was in the classroom that she found most satisfaction, and she researched and read voraciously to match theory with the results that she was seeing in the classroom.
As Nicola put theories such as those of accelerated learning, multiple intelligences and emotional intelligence into practice, the results astounded her. Most significant, to Nicola, was the impact of her creative teaching methods upon student motivation and attitude. “Often, at the beginning of the year, many children were de-motivated, challenging in behavior, and lacking in confidence. By the end, they were bringing me high school science books and asking me to explain the work to them - just for fun!”
Nicola soon joined forces with Alistair Smith, one of the first UK trainers in Accelerated Learning techniques, combining Alistair’s training and research expertise with her classroom experience and background as a writer. The result was ALPS – Accelerated Learning in Primary Schools, followed by The ALPS Approach Resource Book. “I wish ALPS had been around at the start of my career,” says Nicola. “It is full of all the practical ideas that took me years to accumulate, along with the theory that I had to glean from many books and hours of reading.”
Next, Nicola collaborated with Sally Featherstone to write The Thinking Child, which relates the theory of brain-based learning to the Early Years. The Thinking Child, now in its second edition (Continuum-Bloomsbury, 2010) was accompanied by The Thinking Child Resource Book, giving practitioners a wealth of creative suggestions to link the latest research in brain development to the best early years practice. Most importantly, The Thinking Child stresses giving young children the independence and freedom to discover things for themselves, with a strong emphasis on play. “One of the things I am most proud of,” says Nicola, “is the number of practitioners who tell me how The Thinking Child gave them confidence to be creative in the classroom.”
Nicola’s love of children’s fiction led to her next project, a series of picture books that explore the simple, everyday challenges that face young children. Again, co-authored with Sally Featherstone, the first four titles in this series, My Best Friend, Max’s First Day, What Natasha Can Do, and My Big Brother, are due for release by Bloomsbury Publishing in February 2013.
Copyright © 2013 Nicola J. Call