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Early Years Arts in the Park

In July 2014 we were delighted to hold ‘Early Years Arts in the Park – I Could Do That’; a free active creative learning event held in the beautiful surroundings of Rufford Abbey Country Park by soundLINCS and Nottinghamshire County Council Arts Service.

Over 300 practitioners, parents and children joined us for a day of innovative ‘active learning’ music and arts workshops. The children were actively involved in all of the day’s workshops, giving practitioners a fantastic insight into how engaging and relevant the activities were for their own children and dispelling any issues of having to dedicate free time or to close settings in order to receive professional development opportunities.

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Early Years Arts in the Park built on the feedback from the soundADVICE! report to use the known habits of settings to create and develop a programme of events and activities that inspire and enthuse the Early Years practitioners and their groups.

It did this through bringing to life existing information leaflets and trails within Rufford Park and showing carers ways of working with their children and discovering how arts can deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage whilst having fun, and providing scope for them to further develop the ideas themselves.

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There were a range of activities available during the day, with 10 different workshops (5 arts based and 5 music based) on offer to the practitioners, allowing them to tailor the day to their own needs. The workshops had a dual brief; to ensure learning and creativity for the children and young people and to involve, inspire and demonstrate to the Early Years practitioner’s ways of working with the children that they may replicate and develop later. The sessions on offer throughout the day were:

–       I Could Do That – Create Musical Games.

–       I Could Do That – Sprinkly Art – New Ways With the Glitter Pot.

–       I Could Do That – The Big Draw Box Town – Draw to Play and Play to Learn.

–       I Could Do That – Play with Clay – Hanging Textured Tiles, fired by Rufford.

–       I Could Do That – Gallery Fun Without Fear, You Can Bring Your Children Here!

–       I Could Do That – Know About and Use Early Years Apps.

–       I Could Do That – Write and Sing a Song.

–       I Could Do That – Create Sound Stories.

–       I Could Do That – Sensory Sculpture Trail Adventures – Explore, Touch and Experience Art Hands On.

–       I Could Do That – Play Music When I Don’t Have Any Instruments – Junk Music.

Several of these workshops were recorded and turned into Active Learning videos for people who did not have the opportunity to attend the event. The full list of these videos, and more explanation about each workshop, can be found here.


As well as the workshops there were also a series of performances to entertain the visitors. The Whale, a three minute theatre show taking part in the mouth of an aluminium Whale on wheels offered an utterly unique experience for the practitioners and the children. There was also Shaggy Dog Stories, an interactive Art Project by Tom Hackett. Tom took his silicone rubber structural dog for walks around the park in his wheelbarrow, talking to people and collecting stories from the people he met.

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The day was a great success, with one practitioner saying that “It’s been a great day. The children loved it and the workshops were really inspiring. Would definitely recommend it and come again”.

Cathy Royal, who led the Sound Stories workshop, agreed saying that “I had such a good response from children and practitioners. They all participated wholeheartedly and showed a great deal of involvement and enthusiasm. There were lots of positive comments saying that they had some really good ideas to try with the children.”

For more photographs of the event visit the Flickr folder!