Arts project for nurseries to shut

The Arts at the Start project is to end due to funding cuts
The Arts at the Start project is to end due to funding cuts

A PROJECT which over three years has seen artists work with local nurseries to inject creativity into learning, is to close due to funding cuts.

Art at the Start, a project that was funded by Creative Partnerships and is part of the Sharing Success Locally scheme, has been successful in encouraging nursery practitioners across Hastings and St Leonards to take a more creative approach to learning, and has had a positive response from parents and practitioners alike.

Gina Wright, nursery manager at Greenway Nursery, Waterworks Road, has had experience of the project from both sides. Her nursery was the pilot centre in Hastings, while she saw her daughter Daisy, now three-years-old, reap the benefits at St Nick’s Nursery, London Road.

She said: “From a parent’s point of view it was possible to see how the staff were able to use creativity.

“Daisy took a real interest in what they were doing at nursery, and we were able to continue the work at home.”

In Hastings and St Leonards, 17 nurseries were involved in the project, which took place across Sussex and Surrey, and involved an estimated 600 children.

The artists were coached in developing their practice, and applying it to early years education.

Tracy Rose, Children’s Centres area coordinator for Hastings and St Leonards, said: “The success of this project has been due to the shared vision and commitment of everyone involved.

“We have all learned something new, with children taking more of a lead in their learning, nursery staff being more creative, and artists having a better understanding of working with younger children.

“Following on from the success, nurseries have formed better working relationships, and artists are coming together to offer their services to other early years settings, providing a legacy for the future.”

The project will be celebrated at an event on Saturday, October 1.