Ruth Churchill Dower on How to Find Quality and Pin it Down, Nov 2012


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How to Find Quality and Pin It Down was presented by Ruth Churchill Dower at the Earlyarts International UnConference 2012. More details at

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  • We believe in…Children as purposeful, powerful, inspiring and intelligent human beings in their own right.The importance of nurturing children’s innate creative potential from birth.The transformational ways in which creative approaches and environments can help develop children’s social, emotional, cultural and intellectual capacities.The power of collaborations that connect early years, arts and cultural people, ideas, resources and knowledge to spark off perspectives that bring children’s learning to life.The empowering of professionals to have confidence in their own creative leadership skills.The important role of families in supporting children’s play, helping them to make sense of themselves and their cultural identities.The importance of rigor, research and quality in all creative practice.Our collective and individual responsibility to do everything we can to help children to be confident, competent, expressive, purposeful, responsible, well balanced and happy.
  • Creative training - Become more confident and skilled in supporting children’s creativityShowcase and share your creative Ideas - Receive valuable feedback from peers and inspiration for your own practiceMembership of a powerful and like-minded community - Have a voice on the crucial issues that matter to you and feel the support of a nationally recognised and influential organisation.Relevant information, research and analysis - We know what is relevant and affects you on a daily basis. We’ll keep you current, bring you all the news that’s important to you and help you make informed decisions.Unique opportunities to build your professional networks - We help you connect with the right people who understand you, inspire you and help you sustain your early years practice.Practical, high quality resources for creative early years practice - Giving you the opportunity to create the very best creative learning environment for your children.Knowledge and understanding of how children learn through creative pedagogies - Building your understanding of what works and why
  • So, if we want well rounded children and young people, with a sense of emotional and mental health, a genuine sense of place and identity, a sense of belonging and of happiness, as well and language, sensory and motor skills, then we need to start from birth.By opening up creative opportunities for babies, we are preparing them to be the future creative thinkers, confident communicators, strong team players, motivated individuals, inspired artists and scientists, as well as healthy economists. But more importantly than that, we are also allowing them time and space to be and become, to let their natural dispositions emerge with the confidence and self assuredness that comes with being a young explorer.
  • The reason this is important is because of the way babies brains develop, and its important for us to understand how this happens so that we know why opportunities for creativity are so crucial from birth.When baby is born, its brain is not yet fully developed, but it does have a growth rate that is almost exponential – much higher than at any other time in their life. Up to the age of 3, children form trillions of synaptic connectors (pathways through which knowledge and understanding is formed, and which connect one part of the brain to another to enable that knowledge to cross-reference with and contextualise, other knowledge).  These are reduced to half that number by early adolescence, as the brain constantly prunes those which are under-used or completely ignored, leaving room for stronger growth of well-used synapses – just as with a rose bush. The selection of connectors to be made redundant is decided simply on the basis of usage. Which is why it’s so important to expose children to arts and creative opportunities from the earliest stages in life, so that the synapses that are predisposed towards arts and creative thinking skills (particularly those on the right side of the brain) will survive those pruning stages.  These synaptic connectors hold the key to each individual child’s personality and are inherently linked with their minds, bodies and souls. It is also now known that child-oriented creative play-based activities have a direct relationship on helping a rapid blooming of synapses activity, that leads to the formation of well-rounded personalities, good attachment, self esteem and better mental health. Despite the enormous potential for knowledge that all children have, their development of knowledge, skills and competencies are as largely influenced by their experiences working in tandem with their genetic predispositions. It is therefore crucial not only to engage these synapses as early on as possible, but also to nurture them during periods of greater sensitivity.
  • Ruth Churchill Dower on How to Find Quality and Pin it Down, Nov 2012

    1. 1. How to find Quality and Pin it Down
    2. 2. An award winning membership network for people working creatively with children and families in the early years, arts and cultural sectors.
    3. 3. Earlyarts Values We believe in… • Children as intelligent human beings in their own right. • The importance of nurturing children’s creative potential. • The transformational ways in which creative environments can help children develop. • The power of collaboration to spark ideas. • Empowering professionals to have confidence in their own creative leadership skills. • The importance of families in supporting children’s play. • Rigor, research and quality in all creative practice. • Our collective and individual responsibility towards children.
    4. 4. Earlyarts - Empowering Professionals to be confident and creative
    5. 5. Earlyarts Services
    6. 6. Benefits of Membership • Creative training - become more confident and skilled • Showcase and share your creative Ideas – be inspired at work • Powerful and like-minded community - have a voice and feel the support of an influential organisation. • Relevant information, research and analysis - stay current and make informed decisions. • Build your professional networks - connect with the right people who understand and sustain your work • Practical, high quality resources - create the very best learning environment for your children. • Knowledge of how children learn through creativity - build your understanding of what works and why
    7. 7. What Constitutes Quality? • Wikipedia: the non-inferiority or superiority of something; something defined as fit for purpose. • Chartered Society for Quality: A technical term meaning: a. The characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; b. A product or service that is free of deficiencies. • Peter Drucker: Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. • Robert Pirsig: The result of care. • Gerald M. Weinberg: Value to some person.
    8. 8. What Constitutes Quality? • Subjective view: Something might be good because it is useful, because it is beautiful, or simply because it exists. How do we pin down the criteria for that? • Commonly, quality can mean degree of excellence, as in, "a quality product" or "work of average quality". • Excellent quality in creative early years practice combines – Technical (fitness for purpose) – Theoretical (evidence based) – Experiential (fulfils an explicit or implicit need) – Creative (stimulates positive dispositions for learning) – Pedagogical (understands how children learn) – Ethical (values based)
    9. 9. Quality Frameworks Frameworks for organisations: – ACE Providing the Best / Family friendly Toolkit / Reflect and Review – ACE Understanding the (7) Principles of Quality in working with CYP – Artsmark / Pop4Schools – Learning Outside the Classroom / PQASSO / IiP – Kids in Museums / Children and the Arts Manifestos Frameworks for individuals: – Music Leader Code of Practice – Early Years Professional / Teacher / I CAN / FS Profile – Creative and Cultural Practitioners (L3) / Qualified Music Educator (L4) / Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning (L6) – Arts Award
    10. 10. Are they holistic and inspiring?
    11. 11. Will they enable our children to Be and Become their most creative?
    12. 12. Reaching our greatest potential
    13. 13. • Documented and shared for all to see • Measured within recognised framework • Expert competencies can be studied in depth • Brought to life through stories and films • Understood with underpinning theory • Contains high element of risk and reward • Requires focus and regular practice • Energised and inspired through local networks • Makes you feel amazing, hard to articulate How do we spot / strive for quality?
    14. 14. Creativity in the EYFS helps children... • Become confident and motivated individuals • Emotional well being and good mental health • Respectful and positive relationships • Active and critical learners - sustained shared thinking • Communication skills, expressing their feelings, emotions, thoughts and ideas • Experiment with new ideas, techniques and materials • Develop their own sense of identity and individuality • Collaborate with others through group activities • Develop a critical sense by questioning, making choices • Having fun, celebrating their own cultures • Develop physical, sensory and motor skills
    15. 15. Lightstream by Richard Tomlinson and Take Art
    16. 16. Bernadette Duffy By encouraging creativity and imagination, we are promoting children’s ability to explore and comprehend their world and increasing their opportunities to make new connections and reach new understandings. Supporting Creativity and Imagination in the Early Years (1998)
    17. 17. Creative Brain from Birth
    18. 18. Role Models of Quality
    19. 19. Frederick Douglass • Exposed the success of the slave trade being dependent on keeping slaves illiterate. • Sought enough skills and knowledge to challenge his oppressors, gain freedom and write autobiography at age 27. • Took huge risks to break the system and enable young black children to have the same educational rights as white children. • Believed young children must be supported to develop a moral education, i.e. imagining a world better than the one they currently have. Imagination is the only thing that will save us from ourselves Venezuelan theatre director, Moises Kaufman
    20. 20. our children are amazing