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My second school is in a seaside town with very much an emerging arts scene. Seaside towns like St. Ives in Cornwall and Appledore amongst several in Devon have strong arts identities. Many seaside towns in Kent are striving for this kind of identity. We are working in an Infant school and I can’t help comparing it to schools in Devon where I worked in seaside towns on arts projects. The schools I worked in Devon seem more advanced in terms of arts and creativity, but then I only worked in a small number. There was an arts agency who had wide reaching connections and very good working relationships with all the schools in the region. Another arts project was welcomed and the schools were accustomed to fitting in the irregularity an arts project causes.

Perhaps I see Animate as an organisation at an earlier stage of development to Beaford Arts who have really become established and have invested time and resources into the exploration cultural heritage of North Devon. There is nothing quite like this in Kent, but Animate are working with the same kind of interest in creative development in schools.

Back to my seaside town. I have not worked with years 1 -2 -3 possibly even a few year R as well in there for a while. They are so young and I had forgotten just how young, and where they are in basic development. Using scissors, cutting Sellotape are major hurdles for the very young, skills I don’t think about like driving a car. The children are not good at listening too impatient to start making, they are not listening to information and instructions. Understandable.

I listen to children’s verbal descriptions of what they are making and I am seeing some very happy with their results, their expectations realised. I see a few wasting time unable to progress disappointed with the results. Their expectation not realised and no plans to move forward. Impasse. You suggest a way forward and in 60 seconds the child comes back saying ‘Yeh I have done that’. This repeats for as long as you let it while you rotate around the class dipping in and out of the other 25 children little creative worlds. Some really give you a running commentary and take you on a personal exploration of their ideas, while others work alone and they are easily missed and you don’t know what they have made.

A day is not long enough to foster and enable creativity.