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Creativity & Inclusion – EarlyArts PDD at Chichester

by James on February 14th, 2011


On Friday I was facilitating a session at the Professional Development Day set up for EarlyArts by West Sussex Council, at The Festival Theatre in Chichester. The title of the day was ‘Making Places and Spaces Inclusive‘.

It was a great day, with some really interesting people from a range of fields, including exhibition design, museum/gallery education and pre/primary schools.

We also had a presentation from Julia Ann Verbeelen, founder of Turtlewings in Belgium. Turtlewings are inspired by Reggio and work to support creative learning through the development of accessible, creative learning spaces.

I talked about my work in the Early Years through Creative Ecology, providing children with opportunities to investigate the world around them in ways appropriate to their needs and interests, drawing from projects in schools and pre-schools, and some of my work for 5x5x5=creativity.

We also discussed the benefit of using different forms of documentation to record and reflect on children’s creative investigations, to appreciate what they are interested in or how they see the world, and so be able to support them to explore and to learn.

I then offered the group a chance to reflect on their own thoughts from the day, over a range of ‘Intelligent Materials’ (open ended materials that support a range of uses), this time I chose materials for their potential to support connection, mark-making and interaction with the space and each other – luggage tags, clothes pegs, wool, rope, sticks etc

I was keen that we explored the benefit of such materials in giving permission for people to explore their own creativity. I also know that I find it hard to concentrate if there is too much sitting and listening on one of these days, so didn’t want to talk for too long. I think that a different kind of thinking and interaction can happen when you are making together, or alongside each other, that can help process and cement learning from the day, and connect it with your own experiences and practice.

The images from my phone are a little bit dodgy, but it was such an inspiring day to be part of, that I thought I’d share them here.

Also worth a look at is the blog for the Open Sesame project set up by Claire Halstead from the Arts Development Service at West Sussex. Its a project linking artists and early years practitioners and supporting a creative dialogue between them. Its a new blog, so check back for new posts and info as they are added…

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