Early Years

Early Years Research

More plus

Learn from our Experience

Take Art Early Years has been involved in a number of groundbreaking projects over the last ten years, which have been expertly reported and documented in order to aid future learning. You can download the full reports here.

The SoundWaves Network

The SoundWaves Network is an Early Years (EY) Music Network delivering in the South West, with a concentration of activity in three Music Education Hub (MEH) areas: Somerset, Bristol and Plymouth. 

The overarching aim has been to strengthen regional Early Childhood (EC) music practice. Central to the programme’s outcomes have been expanding a tried and tested model of high-quality provision that combines delivery, continuing professional development (CPD) and networking.

Download our Summary Report below or click here for the full thing.


In 2017 Take Art joined forces with Surrey Arts and China Plate to launch Hopper, a 20-month initiative to create opportunities for over 3,500 pre-school children to experience and influence the development of great art and culture in their Early Years setting.  

Taking place over two-years, Hopper brought specially created theatre shows into, pre-schools, nurseries, theatres, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from less advantaged areas. 

Download the report below and also an Early Years Promoter's Toolkit to help practitioners book and market shows in their venues.

Small Steps Big Noise Conference

On Thursday 15 March 2018 at The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre in Taunton, we welcomed over 150 Early Years practitioners, artists, music leaders, settings, regional hubs, funders, researchers and strategic partners from all over the country to the South West’s biggest ever Early Years Expressive Arts Conference. 

Led by leading Somerset Arts organisation Take Art, this completely sold out event took place at a key moment in the politics of Early Years education, when the need to champion the incredible benefits of creativity for 0-5s and beyond is being set against a new government focus on literacy and numeracy. 

See the reports below.

SoundWaves Extra

Soundwaves Extra is an innovative and exciting music network for Early Years practitioners, child-minders, Early Years settings and InspirED schools.

The network is about promoting outstanding musical practice across the South West, offering a platform to reflect, share and debate the current early childhood music issues. 

Over two years Soundwaves Extra has shared its learning through its Early Years network, Music Education Hubs, CPD opportunities and partner meetings, concluding with a final Symposium in Spring 2018.

Creative Elements 

Using the theme of elements, six artists worked in different Early Years settings in Wells and Taunton to deliver a rich programme of work with the children. The project aimed 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 supported the development of creative experiences for children in the participating settings.

Alfred the Mouse

An innovative project that the Taunton Early Years Clusters are running across the more than 300 Somerset pre-schools they cover, supporting under-fives with the sometimes daunting transition to primary school. Children will be able to interact with Alfred through a series of creative activities addressing specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage. Take Art has created a supporting Alfred the Mouse Goes to School website www.alfredthemouse.co.uk, with a dedicated mini-site for nearly all of the primary schools in the Taunton clusters.

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.   

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.

Little Big Bang Final Report

Little Big Bang Report11.55 MB PDF

Sticky Fingers and Toes Report

Sticky Fingers808.35 KB PDF

For more information on any of our Early Years projects please email earlyyears@takeart.org