Hi, I’m Claire!
I’m married to Richard (behind this camera 🤣) and we have a 2-year-old Lila and a 9-month-old Oscar! So we are kept busy that’s for sure.
My background is museum education (see below!) I had so much fun developing and teaching the education programmes there, and running workshops. I met so many fantastic groups, from families with toddlers to school pupils and teachers. One of my favourite projects was setting up Tiny Tots Tuesdays in the museum – I got to meet so many amazing early years facilitators! I also spent time working at Giddy Studios Dundrum, which enabled me to get to know a lot of incredibly inspiring people: it was a safe-haven to encourage creativity and playful painting in families and it always holds a special place in my heart!
During my maternity leave with Lila it became clear to me I wanted to focus more time on family and carve out my own path using all the things I loved about my job. So Mucky Picnic was born! I ran a few outdoor messy paint sessions but with Covid it sadly had to be shelved for a while. 🙈
During the various lockdowns I was incredibly active on my Instagram with messy play and art ideas, and once things started reopening – and when my son was older – I was able to launch my classes in Dublin and Kildare!
Professional Background & Notable Programmes
I love coming up with ways to blend a lot of different subjects, particularly ones that seem conflicting (arts and science, crafts and code). Every child learns things differently – I don’t believe there is ever just one way to achieve something. This is why every programme I have developed follows VARK learning styles (Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinaesthetic). Maybe a child learns more visually, other children may learn by reading, or listening. Kinaesthetic learning is all about hands-on activities and learning by doing. Each programme has incorporated different elements of VARK, to ensure children can learn at their own pace and in their own way.
I was Education and Outreach Officer for EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and the Irish Family History Centre. While there I developed a number of programmes, including the hugely popular Tiny Tots Tuesday; Techxbit: Coding Culture (a STEAM programme focusing utilising code and creativity); Pick Up the Past (a handling collection programme); and the myStory programme with the Irish Family History Centre, which encourage children to research their own family’s history. I had a lot of fun developing these programmes and it was wonderful to see children and families interacting with the museums in new ways. In 2020 EPIC received the Sandford Award, a prestigious museum education award. I was incredibly proud as the programmes I had developed while working there were included as part of the application. I’ll always look back on my time at EPIC and the IFHC as a hugely rewarding experience.