ChildLinks Issue 2: Children and the Arts

Barnardos. (2019). ChildLinks Issue 2: Children and the Arts.
This issue of ChildLinks looks at the impact of the arts on the lives of children. Arts experiences offer children the opportunity to immerse themselves in creative learning with complete freedom of expression, supporting cognitive, social emotional and physical development, communication skills, confidence, empathy, identity and belonging. Arts experiences deepen children’s understanding both of themselves and the world around them, and broaden and develop their creative capacities. Indeed, Objective 3 of First 5: A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028 explicitly names arts and cultural activities as among the factors that will improve the quality of children’s day-to-day lives, ‘Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreation activities appropriate to the age of the child, and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts’. A number of articles in this issue consider the role of the arts in early childhood education and care including an extract from a new publication from Barnardos and the National Childhood Network Explore, Play and Learn through Arts in Pre-school Settings, which looks at the benefits of the arts for young children. There is also an overview of two early years arts programme; the first looking at an arts project introduced into an ECEC setting in Co. Clare and the outcomes for the setting, and the second outlining ArtVentures, a four-week programme with a focus on the visual arts in Sure Start projects in Northern Ireland. This issue also includes an overview of the Arts in Education Portal, a digital space led by the Department of Education and Skills where both artists and teachers can be supported and inspired. There are also articles looking at arts projects focused on a particular medium including Creative Dance Tales, designed to promote creative dance as part of the Physical Education Curriculum, to inform and encourage a cross curricular approach to learning, and contribute to developing varied pedagogical practices in dance. Another article outlines Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, which seeks to address the systematic dismissal of children’s voices within our society, and offers a platform for children’s lives and experiences to be valued and made visible through publishing and the arts. Finally, Emer Smyth of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) considers arts and cultural participation among children and young people, and questions whether disadvantage makes a difference.