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Early Years Creativity


KINDLING CASE STUDY EARLY YEARS IN SOMERSET With The Merlin Theatre


MUSIC SPEAKS With The Merlin Theatre, Frome

Between April 2010 and July 2011, Early Years music specialist Joanna Harvey worked in eight Early Years settings in Frome and Coleford on the ‘Music Speaks’ project, in collaboration with The Merlin Theatre. Staff training was an integral part of the project, which was tailored to the practitioners’ particular interests and developmental needs. Children, parents and staff from all the settings took part in a participatory performance at The Merlin Theatre called Louder Than Words, an animated journey featuring many of the songs they had learnt during the project. A CD was recorded at the start of the project to encourage parental involvement in children’s music making at home, which received an overwhelmingly positive response from parents, children and staff. To encourage music activities to continue in the settings once the project ended, Joanna produced a teaching aid to show how these activities and songs specifically link with the different Early Years Foundation Stage areas of learning and aspects of ‘Letters and Sounds’. The focus of using music to support language development has generated much interest from Early Years professionals. Joanna is currently working with project producer Nell Farrally to explore how further work in this area can be developed. “Developing the practical application of structured music making activities can support the Communication, Language and Literacy Development Programme in Early years settings.”

photo credit: Philly Page

The ‘Music Speaks’ CD, ‘EYFS/Letters and Sounds Resource Booklet’ and a ‘Song Words’ booklet are available to purchase from The Merlin Theatre. www.merlintheatre.co.uk


KI NDL I NG CASEST UDY EARL YYEARSI N SOMERSET Wi t hT heMer l i nT heat r e


WE TOOK OUR LITTLE PUPPETS TO THE BIG THEATRE Sculptor Rod Harris has been helping The Frome Opportunity Nursery to make puppets to bring to their local Merlin Theatre. Working with children with special educational needs and physical disabilities Rod has facilitated a unique set of puppets with heads of air-drying clay, pipe-cleaner hair and pieces of fabric stuck on for clothes. Together they could explore the materials, work as a group and build a story. Previously the nursery used bought puppets, these handmade ones were given real character and names by the children and they could become anyone. The nursery staff were also excited to notice how their under-fives could pick up all kinds of materials and make them into anything. They too enjoyed the freedom to be experimental (getting beyond the universal ‘clay snail and snowman stage’) and the children were further encouraged by seeing the grown-ups ‘playing’. The children were delighted to then get the chance to animate their puppets on a proper stage and with the lights down for the ‘show’ – having an inspiring opportunity to get a hands-on experience of a real theatre. “Clay is a fantastic material for developing the ‘3 Cs’ – curiosity, concentration and communication.”


The Merlin Theatre