Creative Play for Early Years from Imaginary Leaps
Creative Play for Early Years

Pilot Projects Evaluation


Artists' Statements after the Pilot Project

During this project I benefited from knowledge of early years practice and creative play from the support and training of DNA.
I was able to explore this creative play on an experimental level within a supportive environment, and as part of a team of artists and play-workers, albeit in different environments.
I benefited from becoming conscious of the role of the facilitator and of the opportunity to break habitual role patterns that I as an artist may have.
I particularly benefited from learning more about children’s play and what external factors affect children’s development, as well as the difference between adult and children’s perception of imaginative play.

The Imaginary Leaps project has been a real learning curve for me. I have had training and extensive experience of working with children on many varied creative projects of all ages. With this particular age group, in the past, I have provided workshops where I have led as well as participated as a leader in role (i.e. I become a character myself and would act) and there was a specific learning agenda. I have worked from the basis of a structured workshop plan which always remained open to change and of course open to the children’s or young people’s creativity that it intends to encourage. However to approach a session without a plan or idea of which stimuli it would be for me was a little bit out of my comfort zone. From this I learnt to embrace free play and completely child led activities that were both enlightening and inspiring to experience. From researching Tina Bruce I learnt the importance of free play and could see results in the work that I did with Stoneygate Nursery. Notably the project increased confidence in many children and also extended and challenged the play of the more confident children. It was interesting trying to gauge the fine line between supporting and extending play without taking control. Learning to be a “play catalyst”, create a stimulating environment, while acknowledging the children’s play agendas. Encouraging rich play, but to know when to take a step back to observe and let it happen. I look forward to using and developing the knowledge I have gained and found it overall a rewarding and interesting experience.

First of all, I absolutely loved my 8 weeks working in Wade Hall Children's Centre in Leyland.† Although the group was small, I felt this was an ideal situation for me, and the fact that the participants were all boys was quite unique.
I feel very strongly, and this particular experience has confirmed my belief - that an "artist" should enter a space as an artist and not be tempted over a period of time, to become a “teacher”. It is so easy to start looking for an outcome, rather than inspiring children and young people with the artist's form.† I tried really hard to allow the boys to explore whatever stimulus I had introduced, in their own way, at their own pace.† There were moments when I must have manipulated the situation, but I tried very hard not to. I believe that this gives a stronger foundation for children to explore creatively.
However, this style of working takes a massive amount of patience as it takes time for children to tap into their own creative energy. So, I learnt patience too!


Producers of creative learning for early years
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