Early Years

Expressive Arts and Design

Expressive Arts and Design

‘Early years arts and cultural activities can help children make sense of their cognitive, physical, emotional, spiritual, linguistic and moral development by enhancing the whole curriculum.’
How the Arts Develop the Young Brain, Sousa, D. (2006)

Creativity plays a significant role in thinking and understanding across all seven areas of learning. If children’s thoughts and feelings are sought and valued and they are encouraged to decide for themselves how best to represent their ideas, explore possibilities, make new connections and solve problems, they are developing the skills for life-long learning and confidence in themselves, both as thinkers and as learners. The Characteristics of Effective Learning are essential in supporting learning and development in Expressive Arts and Design, empowering children to see themselves as capable, competent and creative learners. 

To be creative and explore, children need to feel emotionally secure so that they have the confidence to take risks. The quality of children’s indoor and outdoor learning environment is of critical importance in promoting their creativity and imagination. Early years settings can support children by encouraging them to explore and experience a broad, rich range of materials, media, music, stories, technology and design.

Provide children with:

  • continuous opportunities to experiment with inspiring and accessible media and tools
  • the freedom to make a mess and mix materials
  • space to create individually and collaboratively
  • places for display/labelling or opportunities for taking work home (take photographs of items that children choose to take home)
  • opportunities to make choices
  • the right help at the right time; ensure children are given sensitive and appropriate help when they ask or are struggling
  • support to develop mastery in a range of skills, techniques and safety rules
  • the vocabulary of feelings and opportunities to take part in activities that allow them to express their own feelings and emotions
  • opportunities to talk about and evaluate their own achievements

Value and respect children’s:

  • processes (these are as important as their end products)
  • new ideas and new or different ways of doing things
  • interests, thoughts and feelings

You can find information about our bespoke training and support packages, in-house training opportunities and training courses on our training pages

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