Cruthaí Beaga – Early Years in the Community

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Cruthaí Beaga – Early Years in the Community workshop programme

In the Cruthaí Beaga programme we work with the under 5 age group from creches, preschools and parent and toddler groups in Dublin city. Early Years specialist professional artists from our Panel of Artists and Guides work with these groups in their own spaces, and at Hugh Lane Gallery. The aim is to give these very young children the opportunity to experience looking at art and being creative themselves, in a way that is meaningful and enjoyable for them.

The name of the programme – Cruthaí Beaga – translates from the Irish as ‘Little Creatives’ and was chosen to reflect the abundantly creative and free nature of young children. We provide the space, materials and encouragement to let children work in a ‘messy’, playful and expansive way, as is often their inclination at this stage.

So far in 2023, artist Helen Barry has worked with Moatview Early Years crèche in Darndale and The Parent Child + Programme from the National College of Ireland. In 2022, artists Helen Barry and Ashleigh Downey worked with the Portobello Parent and Toddler Group; School Street Family Resource Centre crèche, Dublin 8; Mellow Springs Childcare Creche, Finglas; Jigsaw Creche, Darndale; and The Parent Child + Programme from the National College of Ireland.

We are delighted that artist Helen Barry has incorporated her Sculptunes,  a series of interactive sound installations into this programme. These artworks are designed with and for early years children. The original concept for Sculptunes was developed in collaboration with musician Eamon Sweeney in response to the four Local Authorities Early Arts Call Out Commission with the support of the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaborate Scheme in 2017. With the support of the National Concert Hall and bursaries from The Arts Council, Helen has continued to develop and tour Sculptunes, creating meaningful opportunities for all early years children to engage in multi-sensory play whilst supporting the development of their visual, aural and physical literacy.

If you are a crèche, preschool, parent and toddler group or other group that works with the under 5s, and would like to participate in this programme please contact Cleo Fagan, Education Curator at Hugh Lane Gallery, on [email protected]

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Big Bird Niki de Saint Phalle 1982