Small Steps Big Noise

16 March 2018

The Day that took Early Years Creativity into the Future

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.


The Take Art Effect

What the participants said,

"Loving every minute; making new connections, relationships and collaborative partnerships. People make the world go round!" Zoe Greenhalgh Tweeted

"The conference reawakening my personal passion for creativity and the arts to be embedded in all elements of practice." Participant Evaluation

"I came away buzzing with so many ideas!" Participant Evaluation

"I loved being immersed in this wonderful child- centred musical play pedagogy with like minded people." Participant Evaluation

"A truly inspirational day well done everyone at Take Art"  Ann Stott on Facebook

Things We Learned

The conference was packed with workshops, performances and networking opportunities and featured a keynote from Early Years Arts, Music and Education expert Dr. Susan Young, author of ‘Music with the Under Fours’ and ‘Music 3-5’, who spoke of the true purpose of education to prepare children for an unknown future not our past and the vital imperative to inspire children to develop their imaginations and abstract thought.

Gina Westbrook, Director of Early Years Creativity at Take Art said, "This was the most incredible gathering of people who were curious about the power of creativity in the early years.  I was really amazed by the depth of feeling from all ages and sectors, from the two and three year olds who came to see the Hopper performance to Early Childhood students, to the EYPs, to the artists, to the strategic partners, to the wise gurus still engaged and passionate."

"Dr. Susan Young inspirational keynote on Small Children Big Imaginations - imagination is more important than knowledge to prepare our children for their futures."

Read the Evaluation of the Day

SSBN Evaluations 492.39 KB PDF

Things We Did

Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, Scotland’s National Arts and Early Years organisation delivered a keynote about the transformational power of the arts to inspire Scotland’s youngest children and the people who care for them through creativity, performances and engagement projects.

There were eight workshops during the day, including a session exploring how theatre can help develop children’s personal, social and emotional behaviour with Nathan Curry, Co-Artistic Director, Tangled Feet. Their show ‘Need a Little Help’, specially adapted for under fives as part of the Hopper initiative, was also part of the programme, attended by over 50 delegates and an audience of under 5s.

Live video, audio and downloads from the day:

1. Watch Dr. Susan Young's Key Note Speech

2. Listen to Matt Griffiths and Rhona Matheson Speeches

Matt Griffiths (CEO Youth Music)

Rhona Matheson (CEO Starcatchers)

The World Café

The day concluded with the WORLD CAFÉ, where key industry and partners discussed how they can be “Supporting Quality EY Creativity in Today’s Climate”.

There was also wine.


Wish List from the World Café

The development of a repository of good research, which promotes quality work  

The confidence of EY practitioners was still felt to be low with regard to music, often being an area they are willing to teach. Initiatives to support staff at an initial teacher training stage need to be developed  

Early years should have a place at the Hub table with clear representation at operational as well as strategic level, each Hub could invite an EY representative to their board  

The need to take time to listen to our children  

The value of taking time to establish collaborations and partnerships should not be underestimated, it results in strong bids, this needs to be built into individual and organisational practice

4. Download the World Cafe Summary Document

World Cafe Gw Pdf468.79 KB PDF

Keep Talking #SSBN18

At Take Art, we are campaigning to keep it real for children in Somerset and beyond. It’s great to listen to talk and debate - now we need to put the thinking into action and DO. Keep up the conversation and follow #SSBN18 and @TakeArtEY

Contact Us

To request photos or more information please contact Ruth Copping or Louise Monks at Take Art Ltd. Email or call 01460 249450.

More Early Years Innovations

Early Years Case Studies

Early Years Activity

Support for Early Years Artists

Our Early Years Projects

  • ProjectHopper

    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.

    More info
  • ProjectThe SoundWaves Network

    The SoundWaves Network is an innovative and exciting Early Years Music Network for Early Years practitioners, child-minders, Early Years settings and InspirED schools.

    More info
  • ProjectElements

    A practical action research programme of Early Years' creativity was based around the four elements. October 2016 to April 2017

    More info

  • Small Steps Big Noise was made possible due to funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Youth Music.