Archive by Author

Early Years Work Shortlisted for the Clore Award for Museum Learning

15 May

The work of the Manchester Early Years Partnership has made the shortlist for the Clore Learning Award 2012.

Five projects have been shortlisted and these can all be seen on the Art Fund website by clicking here

The award of £10,000 will not be announced until June 2012.

Good luck to everyone on the shortlist.



The Next Steps

21 Dec

Thank you

The CultureBaby team would like to say a big Thank you for attending, or expressing an interest in, the seminar at  Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester on 23 November. We have had very positive feedback and we want to let you know how we are planning to take the work forward and share it with you we will update this blog until the new one is launched, so keep checking back

Our plans for 2012…..

Countdown to the new early year’s blog
We will be launching a new blog in early 2012, with a new name and branding for all the early years programmes (including 0-2 practice) that  we run  across Whitworth Art Gallery , Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery.

Sharing our evaluation from 0-2 pilot activities
Liz and Sara Mair from Mair Health and Mair Education are currently evaluating the drop in and targeted activity sessions we are running at  Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum. We will share their findings with you on the new blog.

Follow up event summer 2012; 0-2 best practice sharing workshops
In your feedback, many of you have asked for a follow up event which facilitates the sharing of best practice with very young children and parents. We are also aware that many of you very kindly offered to speak at our event in November but we could not accommodate you, therefore we are planning to host a follow up event in summer 2012 which will focus on examples of good practice across arts and cultural organisations. We will contact you via email and on our blog when we have a date and venue, but in the meantime please feel free to contact us if you are interested in sharing your practice or leave us a message below.

Images from CultureBaby

13 Dec

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5 Dec

CultureBaby Vox Pops

1 Dec

For those of you who attended the seminar last week, you may have found yourself being filmed as part of the day.  This film was shown at the end of the seminar and is shown below.  Enjoy!

Guest Post from Carla Henry, Drama Practitioner and Actress

21 Nov

I remember my very first experience of theatre as a very young child at primary school.

Going on a school trip to a very big space. I was going to listen to a special story, to be taken on a journey. As I walked into this giant space, I was given a small sweet by a lady dressed in a costume, she could have been from another world!  She asked me; would I like to go inside the belly of a whale?  I ate the sweet quickly, just in case she changed her mind! Then I walked through the door, and I was there, in a magical world!  Although, the sweet may have had lots to do with it, I remember the sensory experience of believing in this magical world, this space that could have been anything or anywhere, a space where I could be anyone, a magical space, a space for me, to imagine, play and explore.

My name is Carla Henry. It is an absolute privilege and pure joy to have the opportunity to devise, create and facilitate imaginative play through the world of Drama and Theatre and all it has to offer. To take an object, painting or sound and devise a story based session as an interactive experience for our young friends.

Within a session a child is allowed to improvise and explore. I see myself as facilitator, making several offerings of story telling using verbal and non verbal communication. Storytelling is steeped within my culture, a story was always told in my home, words that empowered, excited and encouraged me. Story for me is life!. Bringing stories to life for 0-2 yrs has been such an exciting journey. It is a magical and encouraging experience when I catch a glimpse of a parent/carer smiling as they watch their precious baby smile, babble and interact.

I strongly believe that story, drama and theatre had such an impact on my life. Then the birth of my son brought with it the beginnings of my practice with babies and young children. I started attending sessions with my baby son, he never asked to go anywhere, but he let me know where he didn’t want to be. I watched him, responded to him and knew that I wanted to create something which would inspire him. Drama 4 Tots was born. I have been devising and running sessions for the past two years, my practice is always growing and exploring new ways to facilitate, fun, creative and inspiring play. I am very fortunate to have the support and input of inspirational Primary school teacher Laura Miley.

My son Semi Ray was not interested in sitting still and listening to a story, so I brought the story alive, out of a box (literally) gave him and others an interactive story experience and then told them that stories also live in books! Now he can’t put books down, acting out the characters and creating his own world, it’s magical.

Using my experience as an actress and my degree in Devised Theatre I created Drama 4 Tots.  Each story within the session is original.  I use sound, movement, live instruments, props and lots of sensory materials to create a space for exploration with the emphasis on FUN! I have been greatly inspired by the works of Pie Corbett and Oliy Cart.

Most recently I was invited to collaborate with Sam Hull (a wonderful visual artist) on a project:  Story Spaces (Not a box).  This was a partnership between Manchester Art Gallery, the Royal Exchange and Action For Children Foundations Project.  Funded by Manchester City Council’s Cultural Strategy for developing cultural opportunities for North Manchester residents.  I was then commissioned by Manchester Art Gallery to work as the Drama Practitioner on their Far Far Away project.  I devised a piece of work called The Sad Stem using the Pre-Raphaelites painting Ophella (1852 Arthur Hughes) as my inspiration to develop a interactive session for 0-5’s. At the beginning of this year myself and Heather Varley created Little Jammers, bringing the magic of singing and musical fun with live guitar and flute to babies and young children.

All children should have the opportunity to be exposed to and access cultural institutions in a truly inclusive way.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Nelson Mandela

I feel CultureBaby is a fantastic opportunity to share practise, ideas and thoughts. This is such an exciting time to be working with 0-2’s and I am really looking forward to Wednesday.

See you there!


Items in the news

18 Nov

There has been a lot of press recently about Early Years, Sure Start Centres, Reading, Families and Arts Education, I thought it might be worth pulling the links together below.  What other items have you seen in the press recently?  Please feel free to share your thoughts or links in the comments below.

Big Names Call for Arts Education to Preserved

A string of big names from the arts world are urging the government to ensure cultural learning is not stripped from schools in England.

Former film-maker Lord Puttnam, Old Vic director Kevin Spacey and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota have signed a report showcasing the value of arts education. They fear changes to the curriculum could see arts subjects sidelined.

The government said its reforms would not stop schools teaching the arts.

Reading to Children has Long Impact, says OECD Study

Children whose parents frequently read with them in their first year of school are still showing the benefit when they are 15, says an international study.

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development analysis examined the long-term impact of parental support on literacy.

Reading with Child ‘Highlight of the day for parents’

Parents in England and Northern Ireland are spending more time reading to their children for pleasure, a survey for the reading scheme Booktime suggests.

The poll found parents spent an average of one hour and 26 minutes a week reading with their children in 2011, up from one hour 18 minutes in 2009. For the majority (71%) reading with their child is one of the highlights of their day.

Free nursery places for 140,000 disadvantaged toddlers

As many as 140,000 disadvantaged two-year-olds could have free nursery or childcare places under a scheme planned to be rolled out in England.

Plans to give 15 hours of free “early education” a week to all two-year-olds from poor homes were announced last year but details have now been set out. A pilot scheme, first started under Labour, is due to be extended nationwide from September 2013.

Further to this, see the News Release from the Department of Eduction

124 Sure Start centres have closed since the coalition took power

The government has confirmed that there are now 124 fewer Sure Start centres for children than there were when the coalition formed last year.

Lord Hill of Oareford, the education minister, released figures that showed there were 3,631 Sure Start centres in April last year, but by 8 September this year there were only 3,507.

Further to this, see the News Release from the Department for Education

Child Poverty warning as cuts threaten to close 3,500 Sure Start Centres

Pressure is growing on the government to step in to protect the country’s Sure Start children’s centres amid confusion over the true scale of cuts being proposed around the country.

Former government adviser Naomi Eisenstadt, Sure Start’s first director at its launch in 1998, said it had become obvious that ministers “couldn’t guarantee anything” for 3,500 centres, credited with reducing child poverty levels and creating community cohesion.

Launch of the Nutbrown Review

On Friday 28 October the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, announced the launch of an independent review of early education and childcare qualifications, to be carried out by Professor Cathy Nutbrown.

The review will look in particular at five themes: content of qualifications and training courses, coherence and inclusivity, creating clear career pathways, standards, and the status of the workforce.  Prof Nutbrown will be making a wide ranging assessment of the current qualifications landscape and opportunities for strengthening the system with a view to putting proposals before the Secretary of State for Education and the Minister of State for Children and Families, Sarah Teather MP, in summer 2012.