Who we are
Founder & Creative DirectorJustin, a passionate and thoughtful educator with a love for the outdoors, cooking and folk art. He taught English as a foreign language abroad in various exotic countries, worked at many a summer camp and finally washed up back in London about 6 years ago. He was fortunate enough to have the chance to teach English at the French Lycée. There he spent many a happy day creating lively lessons with a strong emphasis on song, drama, poetry and play for young French folk. Whilst teaching he set up First Hand Education which has now grown into First Hand Experiences.
How we met
"I loved my time teaching in schools. I was afforded great freedom and creativity. However, I soon realised through various school trips how starved of nature and genuine experiences these children were. The more I delved into outdoor learning the more I felt I had to be a part of it. So here I am."
Founder, Wonder Woman & Head of ProgrammingFrom a long line of educators, Louisa believes teaching is in her blood. With over 10 years of experience in primary and secondary settings, Louisa specialises in the design of creative curriculums as well as co-ordinating the teaching of Literacy across schools.
Louisa loves to entertain the children she teaches with her own short stories, plays and songs. Her First Hand creations will have you humming the tune for days to come!
How we met
"I had always tried to bring imagination and care to my roles in primary education, from writing school plays to creating theatrical pieces designed to spark creative writing. Justin and I both realised that not only was experience key to telling a good story but some stories just weren't being told.
I've an obsession with history and all things vintage so when I am designing the programmes there is definitely an echo of a time when the natural world was glamorous and most children's memories were anchored in genuine experiences. Seeing children sing about how they've been 'trying their hand at archeology' or 'making potions from fungi and seeds' at the end of the week always gives me a thrill."
Camp MentorYusra has a passion for art and all things creative and is presently wrapping up her MA in Gallery Studies and Critical Curating. When she's not on camps or studying she is teaching refugees English as a volunteer. In her spare time she's a mean footballer and is currently building up an extensive baking repertoire!
How we met"First Hand Experiences has always captivated me because though most children are only with us a week, they are constantly challenged within new surroundings and feel free to explore, which makes them good to be around. I've felt that I've become confident enough to be myself around them and I hope they feel the same."
Art & Craft Co-ordinatorMartha is a textile design graduate from Central St Martins and a traditional craft & Steiner teacher, who believes it’s possible to make anything at all from your imagination - and she's come up with some crazy creations, such as flying creatures and wolf-catchers to name a few. Martha pays close attention to detail and is a fan of pure resourceful improvisation. She uses a wide range of materials from clay to wood, leather to vegetables and from paint to string; and her passion for large scale projects fits well with our philosophy of big ideas!
How we met"I believe that First Hand Experiences successfully captures and encourages children’s interests in their everyday surroundings. It is through understanding and practise that confidence and accomplishment are developed, and of course through playful, colourful and practical creative activities!"