Follow My Voyage….Baboró Early Year Arts Mentorship 2016: Part II

If you sat down to make art with your children could you stop yourself from asking; “so, what is it”? Would you fight the understandable urge to apply the “rules”? Could you let go and just for a moment …. suspend your disbelief?

As my mentor this week, Orla Kelly from Early Childhood Creativity said to me;

“Early years art is about focusing on the poetic, and young children naturally understand the poetic”.

early-years-art-jane-hayes-2She gave the beautiful example of her young godson who on seeing a Chinese lantern floating in the sky for the first time asked what it was. The name Chinese lantern meant nothing to him, where as the explanation that it transported the wishes of people was something that made perfect sense in his world.

From working with all the amazing groups this week at the Baboró International Ats Festival For Children it’s even clearer to me that when permitted, children have no problem suspending their disbelief. If they are given permission and the appropriate environment imagination and creativity knows no bounds. As artists it is our responsibility to bring children through the world with poetics, and even more importantly it seems, to help adults to “unlearn” the rules and rediscover the poetic too.

Deirdre Rodgers from Recreate Ireland, who is also my mentor this week points out that children make meaning through exploration, but unfortunately this exploration is often hampered by the systems and structures within society.

“Life has taken over and things are becoming more structured, even play is structured these days.”

In the ‘Creative Lab’ at NUI Galway this week, we provide the environment and support so that children, and indeed adults know its OK to let your imagination go wild, to colour outside the lines, or even get rid of the lines altogether! You don’t need special materials, to “know about art”, or even to be of a certain age to be creative.  Art is, and must be for everyone, even from the early years.

Now, check out Baboro’s incredible programme of events, and follow me on Instagram for fly-on-the-wall coverage of our experiences with the children and adult audiences all this week.

 

 

 

Follow My Voyage….Baboró Early Year Arts Mentorship 2016: Part I

Parents, artists and educators: join me for a behind-the-scenes journey through early years art, as we discover together the importance of the creative development of the very young…

Are you familiar with the magic of Baboró?   Ireland’s flagship international performing arts festival dedicated to children; Baboró is now in its 20th year, and leads the way in “inspiring children to engage with the world through their experience of the creative arts”.

Izzy Reddan at the Baboró 2015 festival opening in Galway
Photo by Marina Levitina

Through its annual festival, Baboró aims to ensure that all children in Ireland enjoy equal access to quality cultural and creative arts experiences. It does this by presenting an inspiring and deeply engaging programme of multi-disciplinary works for children.  The week long festival, held in Galway in the West of Ireland includes theatre, puppetry, dance, music and visual art, as well as creative engagement opportunities for children.

As an artist and arts educator myself I was particularly interested in the programme’s industry events and professional development opportunities. I was naturally honored when I was selected for this year’s Baboró Early Years Arts Mentorship under the guidance of the exceptionally talented and progressive artists Deirdre Rogers (Artistic Cordinator at Recreate Ireland) and Órla Kelly (Director of Early Childhood Creativity). Having recently returned to Ireland and committed to developing my practice in Galway, I know that I will benefit greatly from this exciting experience.

Focusing on early years visual arts (0 to 6 years) myself and two other mentees will form part of the team that will take young learners on a voyage of discovery in the Creative Lab at NUI Galway, a place to invent, design, explore, build and create using a wealth of unusual materials.  We will also be getting out and about and bringing our Lab to a city crèche and the pediatric unit in Galway University Hospital. In addition, we will work along side Orla and Deirdre as they present adult sessions exploring the use of the creative arts to support early learning and development.

Whether you are a parent, artist or educator I believe that you too can benefit from my experience. That is why as part of my menteeship I will be documenting my experiences and sharing key elements of my learning in a series of articles, which I will be posting here on my blog. In the meanwhile, whet your creative appetite, and check out Baboro’s incredible programme of events, and follow me on Instagram for fly-on-the-wall coverage of our experiences with the children and adult audiences all this week.

Let the journey begin…….