High quality arts or cultural experiences in early childhood can help children develop subsequent abilities in the arts which will be useful right through life. [1] [2] [3]



Early years arts and cultural activities can help children make sense of their cognitive, physical, emotional, spiritual, linguistic, and moral development by enhancing the whole curriculum. [4] [5] [6]



Early childhood arts and cultural activities can significantly strengthen parent-child bonds and engage families in their children’s learning, providing a positive focus for shared experience and communication. [7]



Stimulating and compelling experiences at museums, galleries, theatres, libraries, dance, arts or music venues will offer many parents the ideas, confidence and resources to play with their children as a natural part of everyday life. [8]



Early years arts and cultural activities can help develop intrinsic human qualities, such as creativity, expression, identity, culture and imagination. As well as helping to preserve our cultural heritage, they enable young children to develop their own languages which help shape their individual, community and global identity. [9] [10]



Early years arts experiences can impact positively on confidence, self-esteem, personal, social, emotional development and behavioural health, breaking down language barriers, cultural prejudices or societal differences, and leading to decreased social problems, reduced inequality and increased creativity. [11] [12] [13]



Collaborations that encompass the perspective of arts or cultural professionals, early years professionals, children and parents can bring a vibrancy to learning that results in a much deeper understanding of, and attention to, a child’s needs and interests. This leads to sustainable progression, raising standards of achievement, and a sense of fulfillment for both teachers and children both immediately and later on in life. [14] [15] [16]


[1] Siraj-Blatchford, I., et al., (2002). Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years. London: Department for education and skills

[2] ImagiNation – A Case for Cultural Learning (2012), Cultural Learning Alliance.

[3] Jayatilaka, G., (2010) Creative futures: a ‘new deal’ for the early years sector in Born Creative, London: Demos, pp. 71-82.

[4] Duffy, B. (2006), Supporting creativity and imagination in the early years, Oxford University Press.

[5] OECD (2004), Five Curriculum Outlines in Starting Strong, Curricula and Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education and Care, OECD, p. 28.

[6] Sousa, D (2006), How the arts develop the brainSchool Superintendents Association.

[7] Ipsos Mori (2009), Parents’ views on creative and cultural education, London: CCE.

[8] Oskala, A., et al., (2009), Encourage children today to build audiences for tomorrow, Evidence from the Taking Part survey on how childhood involvement in the arts affects arts engagement in adulthood. Arts Council England.

[9] Bamford, A. (2006), The Wow Factor: Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education, Waxmann Verlag, pp.17-18.

[10] Witkin, R. (1974), The Intelligence of feeling, Heinemann Educational Publishers.

[11] National Children’s Bureau (2010), Principles for engaging with families: A framework for local authorities and national organisations to evaluate and improve engagement with families.

[12] Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1999), Seeing, Making, Doing: creative development in early years, p. 37

[13] Barnett, S. and Ackerman, D. (2006), Costs, Benefits and Long-term Effects of Early Care and Education Programs: Recommendations and Cautions for Community Developers. Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, 37 (2), Summer 2006.

[14] Churchill Dower, R, Hogan, Hoy, C, S, Sims, H, (2006) Search for Meaning – The Children’s Curriculum, Bradford, Canterbury Nursery School and Centre for Children and Families

[15] Clark, J, Griffiths, C. and Taylor H. (2003) Feeding The Mind, Valuing the arts in the development of young children. Arts Council England, North East.

[16] National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, led by Sir Ken Robinson (1999), All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education, Report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.