Welcome to the Creative Toolkit for Early Years, developed by Arts Partnership Surrey and Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service, and funded by Arts Partnership Surrey.
I am excited to introduce this toolkit of inspiring, creative activities for anyone who works with or cares for 0-5 year olds - creativity and play are fundamental to learning for this age group and this resource has been designed to offer fresh approaches to delivering the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, and supporting children's development. Some fabulous case studies are also included so that you can understand the relevance and impact of the activities in context - I have been happily surprised to hear about how effective these activities have been in engaging children from all walks of life, and also to see the positive legacy that participation in creative activities can have on children's confidence and their engagement with learning.
I hope that you enjoy exploring these activities with your children - there are 9 to choose from, based on activities devised by artists working in partnership with Early Years settings in Surrey during the Creative Shoots project in 2014. I am sure that you will find something here that excites you! Do let us know how you get on.
Head of Service, Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service
I am Becci Kenning, my practice involves many creative media and processes. I define myself as a Visual Artist, as it is the closest description that links all my work. My commission and project work includes engaging with all ages but I have an established link to Early Years.
My approach is always to look and listen to the children that I meet and play with. My inspiration comes from them and the imagination that leaks out of all their actions in play, discoveries and conversations. A large part of my Early Years Creative Practice uses multiples of the same sort of resources within an open ended process. I do not focus on a desired outcome but follow where the children guide me; how the resources have informed their play and their discoveries. As an artist, I endeavour to expand and support their creative journey by developing more options for play and learning. My practice includes using natural or re-useable materials, the outside world, light and colour, mark making and Applied Puppetry.
Creativity is play, and play is creative.
Play and its creativity is essential to life, and shouldn’t stop when we move up the educational framework.
My name is Roya Hamid and I am a drama and movement therapist, school counsellor and family learning teacher in adult education.
I believe in the power of play to invigorate lives, and that the participatory arts can challenge the effects of poverty and educational under-achievement, and help with wellbeing.
The focus of my work whether in Early Years, with young people or with the professionals that support them is on developing, supporting and sustaining relationships, communication and the imagination.
Play, stories and drama are the central action methods that I use in this work.
When I work in Early Years I have found that a playful attitude in adults is fundamental to improving children’s learning through play. What playful means to me is based on the following; being present i.e. in the moment and maintaining a sense of wonder, accepting the child as they are, being interested in what lies beneath their behaviour, not being afraid of making mistakes and interacting on the same level as the children and, importantly, love.
My name is Anna Tabbush and I am a natural voice practitioner. I believe that singing is a basic form of communication which should be available to everyone regardless of ability.
I can see the gradual erosion of vocal confidence that happens from a very early age and starts at the first time someone puts their own voice down in front of a child. When it comes to words that can put a child off singing for life, saying “I can’t sing” in front of a child is second only to “You can’t sing”. My first job when teaching any group is to give them permission to use their voices to their full potential without fear of judgement or ridicule.
I apply the same theory to creativity. Every person can be creative, but children are quite often told they’re wrong when they express themselves creatively. The British public has a very fixed idea of what music should sound like, but music, like all other art forms is merely an expression of what we think and feel. When you convey what you think and feel through sound then you are being musically creative. Children do this instinctively, but are often told they’re being too noisy. I aim to give them the tools, space, freedom and permission to express themselves creatively through sound.