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Cash Injection for Early Years Arts Sector

Friday 4th March 2005 at 11am 0 Comments

NIPPA – the Early Years Organisation and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will today officially launch two projects set to bring a cash injection of £340,000 to the early years sector across Northern Ireland. The launch takes place at NIPPA’s Headquarters in Belfast, Friday 4 March at 12 noon.

The launch marks an innovative new partnership which will see Arts Council funding made available for the delivery of arts programmes at Early Years stage (£250,000), complemented by a training programme (£90,000) for artists and Early Years practitioners who will combine their skills to help young children explore ways of emotionally expressing themselves through art and movement - leading to happy, stimulated and confident children.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council Northern of Ireland, announcing the Early Years funding allocation, said: “The Arts Council places a high priority on developing the quality of provision and access to creative opportunities for children in Early Years. This significant investment of £340,000 from our Lottery Fund strengthens our commitment to supporting an environment in which children are encouraged and enabled to express their natural creativity through the arts. Creative expression is key to opening opportunities for children to learn, interact with others, develop confidence in language and communication and, perhaps most of all, have fun!”

Participants on the training programme will also develop an understanding of the Reggio Emilia approach to early years education, which is a well-respected best practice international approach to early years learning. Additional project funding by the Peace II Programme, through the office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister under Measure 4.1 – Outward and Forward Looking Region, has enabled NIPPA to develop international networks and ensure that the early years sector in Northern Ireland is at the forefront of best practice internationally.

Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive of NIPPA - the Early Years Organisation explains: “Last year NIPPA engaged an artist to work with four early years settings and implement the renowned Italian learning approach called ‘Reggio Emilia’. This approach was piloted locally and involved an artist working with early years settings, listening to children and helping them to translate their feelings and imagination into fantastic pieces of art – which we are exhibiting at this launch. To see how a child’s imagination has translated pieces of plaster, egg boxes, shells and sand into remarkable pieces of art – is testimony to the importance of providing opportunities for our children to unlock their creativity. “

Guest speaker Colin Jack, Director of Culture at the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure said: “This initiative is exciting, it is alive, it is measurable, it is tangible and it reflects an innovative approach to early years education. This arts programme will extend young children’s skills in problem solving, language development, active learning and creative ability. Creativity is a key aspect in building Northern Ireland as a vibrant economy and a vibrant place for children to grow and develop”.

For more information about the Early Years Arts training contact: NIPPA – the Early Years Organisation Tel: 028 9092 3468.

For more information about the Early Years Arts Programme delivery funds and to download application forms click here.

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