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The Arts

April 29, 2014

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

What do we mean by ‘the arts’?

What do you think of when you hear ‘The Arts’?  You may think of adults performing dance, you could imagine an exhibition of paintings or you might just think about young children singing some of their latest favorite songs.   
The arts is a small word for a broad range of activities and experiences which includes literature (poetry and novels); performing arts (music, dance, opera, theatre and film) and visual arts (drawing, painting and sculpting).


Why are the arts important?

Every child is an artist, expressing themselves as they move, talk, sing, paint and work with materials that they manage and shape.  Supporting children to express themselves helps them to be confident in their body, in their skills and in their creativity. The arts cultivate joy, stimulate thinking and encourage problem solving outside the box.

Emergent brain research seems to suggest that high quality experiences in the early years are crucial for the development of healthy, happy able children. Creative activities and experiences that encourage positive relationships have a direct bearing on strengthening synapses leading to good attachment, self-esteem and better mental health.

It is the child’s ability to think imaginatively that enables them to make the leap in their play from the concrete – here and now- to the symbolic -i.e. a cardboard box used as a bus. It is these same imaginative and cognitive processes that enable children to enter the abstract world of numbers and letters.


What is our role in promoting the arts?

As educators we need to be confident in the activities and experiences we provide for children.   For example, when we make paint available every day, with large sheets of paper and a range of brushes we support children express their ideas, strengthen their identity or sense of themselves. In displaying their work we help reinforce their sense of belonging in the service and community.  In talking about their painting ‘tell me what is your painting about’, we are encouraging them to reflect, to create stories and to articulate their ideas.  

In providing simple opportunities to engage with the arts every day in your service you are growing children’s creativity and at the same time meeting many of the Siolta standards and Aistear goals.  
We have compiled some ideas for your service choosing just some of the arts below to explore in your service and we’d love to hear your favourite summer activities too!


   ‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’
Maya Angelou


Paint me a Picture

Painting can be a wonderful experience for children and provides opportunities for them to explore, experiment and communicate their ideas through colour and mark-making, using a variety of materials and tools.

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Creative Movement & Dance

To dance is instinctively human. Dance expresses feelings, tells stories, demonstrates strength and power, connects people, creates ritual and celebration and, like art and music, it communicates individual and collective experience in a way that words sometimes can’t.

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clay   lightcov copy

Exploring Clay and Dough

Most children love to play with dough. It encourages the development of fine motor skills, concentration, creativity,is relaxing  and offers opportunities for the development of language and social skills.

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Creativity in the infant toddler centres of Reggio Emilia

The Reggio approach is embedded in a culture where creativity and the arts are almost an extension of the being. It is within this culture that the infant toddler centres extend children’s experiences and art and creativity are central to this experience…

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