Published 21.06.2021
by Kids’ Own

A-Z and Back Again Project

In 2020, we were delighted to receive funds from ESB Energy for Generations to reprint our early years book, A-Z and Back Again. This alphabet book was created by Traveller and settled children and their families in Sligo and Derry in 2002, and captures some of the excitement and exploration of early literacy.

As part of our A-Z and Back Again project, we also wanted to reach young children and their families to bring some of the excitement and wonder that exploratory arts-based processes into their homes. Kids’ Own Associate Artist Naomi Draper worked to create an experience for young children and their families to facilitate experience an arts-rich process of exploration at home, when toddler arts groups and other forms of exploratory play are still not possible in their usual form.

A committee comprised of Carmel Brennan, Kids’ Own board member and former head of Training and Practice with Early Childhood Ireland, Sharon Boles, Manager of Sligo Childcare Committee, and Maeve Whittington, Sligo Leitrim CYPSC Coordinator, provided invaluable feedback and suggestions to the Kids’ Own team throughout the development process.

And so, the Alphabet of Actions was created! Participating families received a very special package, created by artist Naomi Draper, which encouraged an exploration of materials and the opportunity for parent and child to explore and play together in a way that expands and complements the development of early literacy in its widest sense. Parents documented their child’s exploration of the materials, taking photos and videos, and sharing them on a private online forum. Parents then came together for an online chat with the artist and the Kids’ Own team, to share their experiences of the project, and to recreate some of the connections between parents that often happen at in-person toddler arts groups.

The range of different experiences and explorations was amazing and you can see some of the photos from the first phase of the project below. We are continuing the project with other participants now, so watch this space for more updates!