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Early Years Research

Take Art Early Years uses the lessons learned in projects to inform future work. You can download the full reports here.

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Creative Elements 

Using the theme of elements, 6 artists worked in different Early Years settings in Wells and Taunton to deliver a rich programme of work with the children. Elements aims to strengthen the creative practices of the Early Years in Somerset, by developing collaborations between artists and different Early Years settings, working with Local Authority EY Advisors and Take Art.  It supports the development of creative experiences for children in the participating settings as well as establish on-going collaborations between artists, creative practitioners and Early Years practitioners

Little Big Bang

This project sought to develop a new role and a new conception for the arts in Early Years – that of a resident, lead creative practitioner working across and within the organisations serving both the arts and young children and their families. The aim of the research was to explore and develop the role by employing systematic processes that sought to understand the issues, priorities, challenges and rewards that characterise the role.
Download the final Little Big Bang project report below.

Sticky Fingers & Toes

An exciting collaboration between Somerset Arts Promoters and Somerset’s Early Years professionals. The pilot research project took place in four ‘hubs’ between February and March 2008. These were:      

  • Taunton at the Brewhouse with the Circles Children’s Centre,
  • Frome at the Merlin with the Key Children’s Centre,
  • Bridgwater at the Bridgwater Arts Centre with the Victoria Park Children’s Centre,
  • Ilminster/South Petherton with The Meeting  House Arts Centre/David Hall and Ile Valley Children’s Centre/South Petherton Preschool.   

This was the centrepiece of a first phase exploring ways of working creatively in the Early Years and was central in informing future Early Years work in the county. All the learning was evaluated by Dr Susan Young of the University of Exeter, available as a download below. 


Zest was an action research project which demonstrated the fact that quality of creativity is enhanced when young children have access to a wide range of materials. This also applies when children are given the responsibility to explore, discover and be creative and are supported by an interested and talented practitioner who can scaffold their learning experiences.  

We aimed:

  • To demonstrate ways in which creativity and innovation can be fostered in and with young children
  • To provide base line for further research on targeted cohort of children to map progress in subsequent years
  • To share findings as widely as possible, creating a legacy for the future

The whole project was evaluated by Dr Susan Young of the University of Exeter and Dr Kerry Chappell, available to download below.

Photo: Richard Tomlinson

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