Julia Keys

My role…is to bring everything together in line with the values of Hug-a-Bug World. I provide the background and the theory; I have written the music and the songs, and I co-wrote the books.

I started my career… as a nurse, before training to be a counsellor and psychotherapist. I’ve always been passionate about caring for people and helping them overcome their challenges, and I’ve worked with all ages of children and adults – in various settings including schools and hospitals – throughout my career. 

Hug-a-Bug World… was born from my desire to help children and their parents or caregivers really become aware of their feelings, develop the strength to be themselves, and to be the best they can be.

The one thing I’ve heard repeatedly throughout my career, from people of all ages, is “I don’t feel good enough”. Not feeling good enough can make a person vulnerable and in turn minimise their potential in life. These feelings can often start in childhood so I thought, ‘Ok, how can we put this into some sort of concept that is going to help children develop with a strong sense of self-worth? And how can we bring parents into the situation as well?’ 

Supporting the natural development… of a child’s mental and emotional growth – being able to influence their journey in a positive way and help them create a strong sense of self-worth – can only be a good thing, and I think encouraging parents and caregivers to consider their own self-worth is equally important. 

The natural world… is at the heart of everything we do. We used bugs as I wanted children to be able to understand that these are little things that we need to look after, because they help us, and so we must help them.

Our main aims… are to enhance what is already happening within a child’s development, have a positive influence on their development of self-worth, and support their parent or caregiver along the way. 

Fundamentally, we are all born to feel connected… and Hug-a-Bug World is very much about building connection. Connection to yourself, connection to each other, and connection to the natural world.