Creative Education

As a marine scientist, artist and author/illustrator I use my skills and experience to work with children, students, teachers and educators to offer what I term ‘Creative Education‘, specifically creative environmental education. I literally ‘draw upon’ my scientific research, professional experiences and the Australian Curriculum to provide visual storytelling in classrooms where I enthusiastically put the “A” into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTs and Mathematics) and share how I live a life of ESTEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)! You can ‘sea’ more of my creative education using art and science storytelling via my YouTube channel (@drsuepillans), and watch an episode with Scope TV below:

I believe in the power of visual and positive storytelling as stories help to engage, excite, educate and empower children, so I combine my love of art and science into storytelling to help make learning visual, interactive and fun! I use visual arts in all of my classroom visits as ART is SCIENCE made CLEAR! ART also encourages creative and critical thinking, curiosity and a sense of caring as students create their own original artworks and stories about the science we have just discussed. You can ‘sea’ more about why I use art and science in classrooms via my interviews for the National Education Summit , Education HQ and School News: Thinking like an artist and Creating a new generation of problem-solvers.

AND you can watch the time-lapse below to see the importance of creative education in classrooms which I visually captured at the “2018 Creativity Summit: Initial Teacher Education” hosted by Griffith University:

With further resources from the Creativity Summit found at

In my classroom visits I like to create marine science-stories that help students to think in colour and use their imagination as “Logic will get you from A to B, Imagination will take your everywhere” (Albert Einstein)! Therefore, my classroom incursions use a range of interactive and visual learning approaches to engage as many students as possible. From my experiences in the classroom it is important to give students the opportunity to “Just IMAGINE!!“, as this gives students the time and the space for curiosity, creativity and critical thinking.

You can ‘sea’ more of my creative environmental education visits and activities via the following pages:

Dr Suzie Starfish

I have always been drawn to the ocean and through my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish I share the art of marine science and storytelling using information and illustration to inspire the imagination. Dr Suzie Starfish visits schools, kindy’s and libraries and holds workshops to promote the art and science of our Living Oceans and has just written and illustrated her first kids picture book illustrating the impacts of climate change on The Great Barrier Reef!


As Dr Suzie Starfish I also had the amazing opportunity to film a segment for Scope TV (Australian children’s science education program) on Channel 10 showcasing how I use creative education in the classroom and how art and science make a great team! You can ‘sea’ this episode now at: and see my Art and Science challenge in the video below!

Environmental education & creative thinking

I strongly believe that our children are our future ocean stewards so through my “Living Oceans” and “School of Fish” Programs Dr Suzie Starfish aims to bring the wonders of the ocean indoors, into classrooms and into the hearts and minds of readers — through my Creative environmental education. My hands-on approach to learning is based on encouraging, empowering and engaging students through Creativity, Curiosity, Critical Thinking, to Think in Colour and Care as shown by my Starfish below.

I have been visiting schools, kindy’s and libraries and holding workshops for children as Dr Suzie Starfish over the past five years and during this time I have seen first hand the positive impact Creative Education has on students. Creativity through creative thinking is a critical skill for our children to learn in classrooms to help equip them to face and solve the challenges of the future.  Creative and critical thinking are skills which have been identified as necessary for the 21st century, so for creativity to happen in classrooms we need to give students the:

  • time and space to be creative
  • courage to make mistakes and take risks (and colour outside the lines!)
  • right environment to create and share stories
  • permission to have fun in their learning!

Further information about my creative education can be viewed via Schools and my Workshops.

“That Reef dress”!

As my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish I really love visiting schools, particularly as I get to dress up to showcase all of the wonders of the ocean. Due to the increasing popularity of ‘that Reef dress’ I have been asked to profile it for everyone to ‘sea’! My mum helped me to make the Reef dress which I pair with a Dory fascinator, whale shark leggings (made from recycled plastics thank you very much!) and my ocean-blue star shoes! Sometimes though I think the dress might be more exciting to the students than my creative ocean science…! :0


 Follow Dr Suzie Starfish’s marine art-science storytelling here.

*Please note: I have the current Working with Children Blue Cards for Queensland and all artworks, storytelling and images/video’s are Copyright © 2023 Dr Sue Pillans

to find out how you can have Dr Suzie Starfish visit you.


Working with Schools I’m so fortunate to get the opportunity to work with schools, kindergarten’s and libraries using my Creative environmental Education. Through my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish I bring the Living Oceans into the classroom/indoors and use the art of science and creative thinking to engage the students with the wonders of our underwater world. … Continue reading Schools

Sketchnote your Science

Sketchnotes in Schools Sketchnotes are visual notes created from a mixture of hand-drawn words and pictures which can include visual elements of typography, shapes and lines. Drawing is thinking so this technique helps to make learning about science visual and engaging. I use sketchnotes to help students and teachers to visualise science, and I also … Continue reading Sketchnote your Science

Art of STEM

Using the art of science As a scientist, artist, author/illustrator and small business owner I am proudly living my life with ESTEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)! By using the art of science you can ‘sea’ more below about how I share my life of ESTEAM. Due to my research background and creative experiences I … Continue reading Art of STEM

A life of ESTEAM

Living life with ESTEAM After a diverse career in marine research, Government and University I am now living my life with ESTEAM, literally through: Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics (ESTEAM). I am passionate about creative education, sharing my professional experiences and helping others to turn something they love into something they live. I wasn’t an A-grade student at school but I … Continue reading A life of ESTEAM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.