There is a growing recognition of the value of creative work with early years and their parents and carers well-being. Participating in arts experiences has an impact on everyone for life. Parents talk about making new friends and feeling less isolated, children are expressive and calmer, families enjoy being together.
Research conducted by Early Arts into arts and cultural experiences for early childhood identify 7 benefits of arts in the early years. High quality arts or cultural experiences in early childhood can:
- Help children develop subsequent abilities in the arts which will be useful throughout life.
- Help children make sense of their cognitive, physical, emotional, spiritual, linguistic, and moral development by enhancing the whole curriculum.
- Significantly strengthen parent-child bonds and engage families in their children’s learning, providing a positive focus for shared experience and communication.
- Offer many parents the ideas, confidence and resources to play with their children as a natural part of everyday life by enjoying stimulating and compelling experiences at museums, galleries, theatres, libraries, dance, arts or music venues.
- Help develop intrinsic human qualities, such as creativity, expression, identity, culture and imagination; as well as helping to preserve our cultural heritage, they enable young children to develop their own languages which help shape their individual, community and global identity.
- Impact positively on confidence, self-esteem, personal, social, emotional development and behavioural health, breaking down language barriers, cultural prejudices or societal differences, which can lead to decreased social problems, reduced inequality and increased creativity.
- Bring a vibrancy to learning that results in a much deeper understanding of, and attention to, a child’s needs and interests. This leads to sustainable progression, raising standards of achievement, and a sense of fulfilment for both teachers and children both immediately and later on in life.
Dorset based creative practitioners are leading the way in early years projects
The Arts Development Company is keen to demonstrate the social impact this work has on children and their families. Jenny Gordon and Jo Burlington are Dorset based creative practitioners who both engage with this age range and witness its impact first-hand.
Jenny Gordon runs Babigloo Music for Babies CIC and is currently delivering a 1-year funded Youth Music project with mums and babies in Rossmore Children’s Centre. This innovative participatory programme uses the non-verbal classical musicology technique of Portugal expert Professor Edwin Gordon to engage babies 0 – 12 months in classical music, vocal sounds, and rhythms including baby conversation.
Results from last year’s Babigloo programme showed lowering of depression and / or anxiety and increased self-regulation for both mothers and babies. All the mums said Babigloo had helped bonding with their baby; they all felt more confident as a result. An added benefit – all the babies slept better and longer. Read more about our partnership with Babigloo and their new programme here.
We also talked to Jo Burlington who runs Oops Wow; messy process based art groups for small children in Bridport and West Dorset. Jo has been broadening her offer to local schools and festivals as well as messy play for adults – we all have a child within us!