Children enjoying a performance of Flea Circus by Pignut Productions (Photo: Mike Mulcaire)
Children learn from birth and there is growing recognition that their earliest experiences of learning and education are formative and influential throughout their lives. Following a round table discussion involving Irish early childhood arts and education practitioners in October 2012, the Arts Council identified some fundamental steps to be taken at a research level in order to inform policy and provision in the rapidly growing area of early childhood arts. These were: a mapping of the early childhood landscape in terms of public policy and provision in order to aid orientation within the field, especially in terms of where and how the arts might 'fit'; a scoping and audit of current Irish practice in this domain; securing an expert international perspective highlighting the key issues and the rationale for the importance of this work, and setting out the evidence for why this is an area that requires the attention of public policy makers.
To that end, the Arts Council commissioned a research report, Early Childhood Arts: Three Perspectives, comprising
- an overview of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) policy and provision in Ireland;
- a background paper on the role of the arts in early childhood learning and development;
- and an international perspective on best practice in Early Childhood Arts.
Eight early childhood arts projects were documented during the research.
Early Childhood Arts: Three Perspectives (PDF, 1.08 MB).