Innovative art project supports little ones to be school-ready through the arts.
A Cartwheel Arts project supported and funded by Rochdale Borough Council, The Ragdoll Foundation, and The National Lottery Community Fund has resulted in a new co-produced resource for 2-4year olds, their families and carers to use at home to get them school ready.
The Little Artists project worked with 16 children from 15 families to develop an exciting art resource. Participating families were drawn from three communities: refugees and asylum-seekers; Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller families; and cared-for children and their carers. There were 24 sessions in total.
The project is part of Rochdale Borough Council’s commitment to school readiness by supporting young people and their families to increase confidence, improve wellbeing, tackle inequalities and get children comfortable in an informal learning environment using engaging arts activities.
Cartwheel Arts utilised a variety of art practices and worked with experienced art practitioners who provided visual arts, music, forestry and theatre. The activities included signing, counting, group play, making, adventure, story-telling, painting and engaging with nature.
Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children’s services and education at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Little Artists has provided families with a supportive environment to socialise and learn while having fun. All of the families have been overwhelmed by this dedicated project to support them; they have been part of a team and they are very proud of the legacy which they have helped create. We’re passionate and committed about getting young children school ready to help boost their outcomes and this project is testament to the hard work and creativity we’re putting into this.”
All parents felt that their own wellbeing and their children’s wellbeing had definitely increased throughout the project and everyone felt that they were able to contribute to the development of the packs. Parents also reported that confidence had increased, wellbeing had improved and new skills had been learnt, for them and their children. One parent noted: “He was shy and hesitant at the beginning but is now confident to start nursery.”
150 packs are being given out to families in the borough. They contained materials such as shakers, paints, posters, paper, templates, a bi-lingual book, bubbles, glue, tape, chalks, stickers and scissors so that they can take part in these developmental activities at home.
One of the parents taking part in the project gave positive feedback in Spanish, their first language: “Los materiales fueron muy útiles para la elaboracion de pinturas en papel y de decorar la bolsa de tela” – Translation: The materials were very useful for the elaboration of paintings on paper and for decorating the cloth bag.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from Cartwheel Arts are now running more monthly sessions for 2-4year olds and their parents or carers to try out some creative activity and the first 150 families will receive a printed pack.
Becky Smyllie, project coordinator for Cartwheel Arts, said: “This project has been magical. The feedback from parents has been so positive. We had many unexpected outcomes too due to the dedicated support from Rochdale Borough Council staff who sorted issues arising outside of the sessions. Working with these families has been an absolute pleasure and I can’t wait to meet more Little Artists in sessions to come.”
Singing, music and recording by Anna Harrison.
Contact Becky for further information email@example.com