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Our Approach

#393 ‘Through the rhythm of the music we tell our story’ – Little Learners Nursery

What did we do?

We thought about the children in our setting and what the practitioners thought would benefit their learning from to continue and implement it into the setting. We looked at local artists and how we could use the money to benefit as many areas as possible, around children’s emotional, creativity, expressive language and to develop their resilience to take part in new experiences as well as enhancing the children’s understanding around the world we live in and multicultural artists.  

We booked in a storyteller, dancers, African drummer, using Arts, O, lam, also clay modelling with pinikity pots, as well as using the money to provide the setting with some resources that we could use to scaffold this interest further and captivate the children learning, such as instruments, globes, maps, and materials.  

This was a completely new project for our settings, building on the children’s love of music from around the room and scaffolding their awareness of emotions and those of others.  

We wanted to make sure that as many children would benefit from this project, however we were aware that children access the setting at different points of the day and over various days. Also booking artists on certain days was not an option, so we had to take what was available. Most of the children who accessed the setting overt the half the week, were able to participate in the story telling, clay modelling, dance, and instrumental sessions. There were certain children who we knew would benefit more significantly than others. For example, those children with low confidence and participation involvement, those whose speech, language and understanding needed support. The practitioners work at the setting throughout the week, so we knew that around 10 practitioners would be actively involved throughout these sessions and would take part because it would allow them to develop their learning further and support and scaffold into the practice once the artists had finished. I would estimate that around 60 children participated throughout the project and 10 practitioners. 

The children were introduced to Penny and Allie, two ladies from pinikity pots, who visited the nursery to support two sessions of pottery making, with a group of little learners and forest learners’ children. Pinikity pots is a clay modelling company, who make fire and glazed pottery items at their studio in Ipswich. The children were each given their own pieces of clay, rolling pin, board and encouraged to roll the clay until they reached a certain size, by patting the clay with their hand and rolling it. All the children showed perseverance throughout and continued until it was just the right size. “Look I did that” a child said with a beaming smile. Once the clay was flattened, the children went to another table where they made independent choices of the designs they wanted to put into the clay, using various items, including wooden blocks, patterned mats, ”a pumpkin, I am doing that one”, rollers and natural forms, such as leaves and dried pieces from trees, “a little flower” one child showed another. “It looks like fireworks” one child shouted. Once the prints were finished, the children chose which decorative shape they wanted to use, to make hanging decorations. When the children had finished, we used the off cuts to have a go at making pinch pots (the oldest form of pot making), demonstrated to us by Allie. This activity supported the children’s choice making, “I need this leaf” a child said with confidence. Listening and attention skills were displayed throughout, as well as allowing the opportunity to be creative and handle the clay, developing our fine motor skills and sensory exploration. The children were encouraged to turn take using the equipment with the other children on their table and they remained focused and actively engaged throughout the activity, some wanting to continue after the session had finished!

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Summary of impact

The children and staff who have participated have been able to enjoy and take part in new experiences, of storytelling, musicians, and dancers, which has enabled them to continue to scaffold the experiences with the children during normal daily sessions. The children have been talking about their experiences and what we did during the sessions, such as making up their own stories, using the instruments to develop their creativity and explore other cultures. 

The children have developed their confidence, speaking skills and creativity, using movement and dance to express themselves, explore emotions, and look at the world around us. The children have developed listening and attention skills, which have been beneficial before the end of summer term, for the school leavers.    We have tried to develop parental engagement, by displaying the projects in the setting for all to see. We have had positive feedback from families and the children have been sharing their experiences at home.  

We started by using the Highfield resilience tracker, “I am” and “I can”, to measure the outcomes of a cluster of children. A summer tracker needs to be completed before the outcomes can be measured. 

The project was a fantastic experience to be a part of and we felt very lucky as a setting to be involved in and to have the money to use, in areas which we thought would support our children. We have been able to have such wonderful multicultural artist in the setting, sharing their skills, ideas, and talents with us. We have learnt new sills to scaffold into the setting and will continue to do so with the children. The practitioners have learnt story telling skills, dance and instrumental ideas which can be used in the setting.

The Project has contributed to the following “Hullabaloo22” outcomes:

I believe that the project achieved and is continuing to support these outcomes

Outcome 1: Education providers enrich the cultural and creative curriculum in their settings by enriching cultural and creative curriculum in the setting, through all the artists who have delivered sessions.

Outcome 4: Providers support young people to develop creative skills for life, especially supporting mental health and resilience We have developed outcome 4, by supporting the resilience of all children, and developing their communication skills, ability to participate and confidence. 

What would we do differently

The things that worked well were lots of the children being able to participate, however some of the days the artists could attend were limited. It was at times difficult for all practitioners to be fully involved, due to confidence, which I feel should have been an area that they overcome, as this did at times effect the learning that was taken from the sessions. Next time, I would have liked families to have been involved from the beginning of the project, to develop parent partnerships, especially after covid

Were young people involved in co-producing this activity?

During the project, the children led how the story were going to be delivered, by sharing their ideas and using repetition to enforce their own creativity. The children decided what prints they were going to make in the clay, choosing their own marks and resources.  

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

Our next steps for this project will be to use all the resources that we have purchased and all the learning that we have taken from the start telling and other sessions and scaffold back into the setting so that we can continue this project further. 

The children and practitioners will use the globes, maps and explore cultures and different parts of the world, in the setting with the children.  

We would possibly like to use some of the money to have another artist come into hr setting so that we could involve the families and show case what we have been involved in with all the artists.  

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Bringing stories to life with Music and Dance - The Children's Triangle Nursery and Dance East

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Alma's Voice - Highfield Nursery with Rock Paper Scissors and Toddle Talk

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Let your Hands do the Talking - Rainbow Bright Nursery with Rock Paper Scissors and Toddle Talk

"A Meal with Friends" - diversity and confidence at Stoke High School with Alice Andrea Ewing

Expressing emotion through dance - The Willows Primary and DanceEast

Engagement and Film-making at Westbridge Academy with Slide Productions

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