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#393 Bringing stories to life with Music and Dance – The Children’s Triangle Nursery and Dance East

Joanne Pike

What did we do?

We used 2 separate artists from our partner Dance East. Takeshi ran a longer project with the setting working on expression through dance and movement and expanded on previous work he had carried out in the setting through the term. Takeshi has previously worked with the setting to teat out some of his work for his early year’s performances. Laura, an early year’s dance artist came and carried out some sessions through the term focusing on bringing stories to life which was a brand-new experience for us. These sessions along with a family session during half term happened in the setting.

All the children in the setting were provided an opportunity to experience a session as they were spread out through the term to maximise impact and all families were invited to the family session as well. Our children range from 2-5 and our family session saw lots of school aged siblings as well as parents attend and join in as well. All of the staff team have been involved throughout the whole project, getting involved and learning new ideas to try in the setting.

Summary of impact

This project achieved far more than we had anticipated. Just by having external artists coming into the setting provided some really unique opportunities for the children. We had children getting really active and involved from the first moments and many who were very reluctant in those early sessions who then really came out of themselves by the end. We have managed to do similar things in one off sessions previously which meant the children did not get the time to warm up and get involved, especially if they were very shy and unsure of the experience. As well as the children being uplifted, so were the staff. It was so lovely to see them all getting involved throughout and with the resources we have managed to put together ready for next term there is a real excitement of what can be carried on into this next academic year. We may not have the artists next year but we have the ability now to keep promoting this type of physical activity and expression. We have many SEN and EAL and this really helped them to find a really unique form of expression and just be able to dance and move freely. We are incorporating a real multicultural theme throughout our resources and the music we have purchased to really embed familiarity within our setting. Takeshi has really inspired the staff to look at a much wider range of music.

All of the Hullabaloo22 outcomes are now becoming embedded into this setting. We had already touched on providing cultural experiences into the setting with the work with Takeshi previously we had just never had the funds to take that further. We are at a stage now where we are going to be embracing cultural diversity in the performing arts industry so much more in setting but providing children with those opportunities to be involved and explore this element of the curriculum. We have amazing links with Dance East now and our children will get that exposure to expressive arts that they never had before, it will become something they will really enjoy, and we hope to want to continue to explore as they move on from us. Wellbeing is becoming the heart of early years, and this is such a beautiful way to promote and explore that.

Steps taken

Hullaballoo22 outcomes:

Outcome 1: Education providers enrich the cultural and creative curriculum in their settings

Outcome 2: Providers inspire & support young people to develop careers in the creative sector

Outcome 3: Arts and cultural providers attract more children and young people from under-represented communities to take part the cultural offer in Ipswich

Outcome 4: Providers support young people to develop creative skills for life, especially supporting mental health and resilience

Outcome 5: Providers support young people’s attainment in creative subjects

Outcome 6: Education settings develop as hubs for high quality arts and cultural experiences

Outcome 7: Providers support whole family engagement in culture

Outcome 8: New partnerships develop between community organisations/groups and arts providers

What would we do differently

The main thing I have learnt is that music areas become easily left behind in early years, instruments are incredibly costly and cd players soon break which means many other areas take priority most of the time. Having this project has shown all of us how incredibly important it is to highlight this as an area of the room and this will certainly stay with us. The opportunity to put time and money into this has meant we have an unbelievable baseline to work from now, we wanted to help children’s mental wellbeing especially at this point of time and help provide a means for our children with those communication barriers express themselves and we have seen a real confidence boost in those children already.

The biggest challenge for us was the time frame for this round of funding but we worked that into what we wanted to achieve. Resources are not only costly but also on unbelievable delivery delays especially if you want to explore multicultural resources, but we focused on the artist sessions and gave ourselves time to create the space and resourcing we wanted because we do not want that as a short-term resource but to really embed a legacy in the setting.

Were young people involved in co-producing this activity?

With the artists work in particular, they helped lead the direction of those sessions. For example, Takeshi introduced animal movements into one of his sessions and then extended that much further into the direction of their interests. Our resources as well are designed to provide the children with choice to explore in their own direction, it is not targeted on doing a single task. We have a music tent to provide them space to explore instruments and music of their choosing from a wide range of materials as well as a wide space. We are incorporating a range of beautiful multicultural and animal print fabrics to help them become whoever they want to explore in whichever way they want to express themselves. The aim throughout has been to provide the children and staff the tools to really explore themselves.

Are there parts of the project you will continue to develop and deliver?

100%! The resource element of the funding has provided us with a means to really extend on this work and explore this further in setting. Our turnaround for the funding delivery was very short which meant we focused on the artist bookings and delivery and could start ordering the resources for the building which have arrived at the end of term. It has provided us the perfect opportunity to embed some brand new practices, for the first time performing arts will become a big part of the setting.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

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Expressing emotion through dance - The Willows Primary and DanceEast

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Music Adventures at Wigwams Nursery with Arts La O'Lam and DanceEast

Key Stage 1 Storytelling - Handford Hall with Wonderful Beast theatre company

Big Feelings - Springfield Infant School with Cohere Arts

We belong together - The Nature Den Nursery with Arts La O'Lam

Bringing History to life - Sidegate Primary with Ipswich Museum

EYFS Emotional Literacy Through Outdoor Art - Morland Primary and Arts Eat with the Nest Project

Bringing the past to life – Clifford Road Primary with Lisa Temple Cox

If Objects Could Speak (Pop Up Museum) - Clifford Road with The Hold, Museums Service and Trinity College