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Artists in residence come to two city libraries

Published on Monday, January 20, 2020

Image: Young children taking part in creative play. Photo courtesy of Pamela Raith Photography

A NEW partnership project in two city libraries will see artists in residence working to promote language and literacy skills through creative learning.

Small Wonders is a year-long partnership programme from the Spark Arts for Children and Leicester City Council. It will provide extraordinary creative experiences for children aged 0-7 years and their parents and carers.

Over the coming year the scheme will develop two Leicester libraries into early years ‘hubs’.  These will provide a safe space to be creative and spark change through childhood development and family learning.

Artists in residence Dave ‘Stickman’ Higgins at Pork Pie Library & Community Centre and Sophie Cullinan at St Barnabas Library will work with library staff, schools, families and community groups to emphasise the libraries as cultural hubs where everyone is welcome.

Children’s experiences in the early years are crucial to their later educational success. Through exciting creative encounters ‘Small Wonders’ will support children to learn and develop the necessary skills ensuring the project has a long lasting impact.

Liza Foster, Small Wonders Early Years Programme Manager said

“I strongly believe immersive, creative experiences make the best early learning. Being creative enables children to experience the “wow” moments that make brain connections between one area of their learning and another. Small Wonders provocations in the library hubs will spark those “I wonder what happens if.. ” questions that lead to the biggest WOW moments of all!”

Small Wonders is funded using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Leicester City Council’s neighbourhood services staff helped to deliver the successful £89,000 bid to Arts Council England.

Cllr Kirk Master, Leicester’s assistant city mayor for neighbourhood services, said “This project will extend our established partnership work with The Spark Arts for Children, giving us the chance to develop an exciting creative programme in two key libraries.

We’re focussing on children aged 0-7 to help develop their language and literacy skills. Together with The Spark, the aim is to create an installation in both libraries as a legacy of the project. This will help families for years to come to recognise our libraries as stimulating, imaginative and creative places for learning - and for fun.”

Small Wonders will also offer a series of professional training opportunities to early years practitioners, managers and senior leaders alongside a national symposium that will showcase and celebrate work delivered locally through Small Wonders alongside national best practice, latest research, case studies and workshops.

For more details on the project visit The Spark website thesparkarts.co.uk or contact Liza Foster on 0116 261 6893.