Arts from the Start 2016

Welcome to the Arts from the Start blog.  This blog is primarily for people working with young children on a daily basis, but also might be of interest to parents and carers.

It’s a big year for us at Starcatchers as 2016 marks our 10th birthday.  We wanted to celebrate all that we have achieved over the past decade to inspire our youngest citizens working with artists, Early Years professionals and parents and carers across Scotland and internationally.  We are doing this with a year of Arts from the Start.

Arts from the Start is a campaign to highlight the importance of Arts and Creativity in early childhood.  We know the benefits creativity has on very young children’s emotional and physical development and wellbeing through years of research and development.  We want Arts and Creativity to be at the heart of the every child’s early childhood experience.

Since 2013 Starcatchers has been funded by the Scottish Government to work with Early Years practitioners across the country to help them feel, and be, more creative. Our Creative Skills Programme is transforming practice and changing lives, empowering practitioners and reminding them what their jobs are really about.

In 2016 we want to share what we’ve learned so far, and inspire EVERY SETTING in Scotland to put creativity at the heart of Early Years Practice by joining the Arts from the Start campaign.

Why is Creativity so Important?

The importance of creativity is at the centre of Scottish Government policies and guidelines: from Curriculum for Excellence and HGIOS, the UNCRC, GIRFEC and RAFA, there is a strong emphasis on the voice of the child, the importance of child-centred approaches and involving children in decision making and shaping their own learning. The arts provide unique opportunities for very young children to express themselves and develop the skills and confidence they need to be positive agents in their own lives.

There’s a wealth of evidence proving arts and creative approaches boost attainment in literacy and numeracy, support healthy development and wellbeing, and are particularly effective when working with our most vulnerable children. There is agreement across the board that creativity is a good thing, but in practical terms, it’s not always easy to know how to put that knowledge into practice.

How Arts from the Start supports GIRFEC – Click to enlarge

What’s Involved in ARTS FROM THE START?

We are getting in touch with every single nursery in Scotland to build a community of creative, inspiring Early Years practitioners, and we’ll provide free opportunities for networking and training for managers and practitioners.

Throughout 2016 we’ll be focusing on different aspects of creativity monthly, sharing links to research and resources, creative challenges to boost creative practice in your own setting, and printable resources to share with parents and families.

Taking part in ARTS FROM THE START 2016 is totally free – all you need to do is follow this blog!  The first post will be published in February where we’ll be looking at family learning.

You can also add our Twibbon onto your Facebook and Twitter account pictures to show your support: AFTS Twibbon


Nourish your creativity at an ARTS FROM THE START Inspiration Day

We believe passionately that a creative approach to learning has the power to change the Early Years experience in Scotland for the better, and we think it’s time to shout about it.

Last year we held two Arts from the Start Inspiration Days in Glasgow and Dundee designed to inspire Early Years professionals.  The events were so successful we are doing it again in 2016!

Creative Skills Participants from 2013 – 2015 at an Inspiration Day in Dundee Feb 2015

Inspiration days are open to anyone working in Early Years who are looking to deepen their creative understanding and get inspired.  The day will include practice sharing, key note speakers, practical creative masterclasses run by Starcatchers artists and plans for the future of creativity in early learning.


If you are interested in coming along to an Inspiration Day please register your interest below.

Creative Skills Programme

Find out more about our ground breaking Creative Skills Programme by watching our short film.


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