Published 22.08.2023
by Kids’ Own

Early Years Pilot: Inspiring Minds in Sligo Town

In our second ELC setting as part of the Arts in Early Learning & Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) scheme, Joanna from Inspiring Minds in Sligo Town gives us her feedback from the sessions with our associate artists Naomi Draper and Maree Hensey. We’re delighted that all at Inspiring Minds enjoyed the sessions.

Read Joanna’s thoughts below.

Day 1

This morning we had another lovely visit from artists Naomi and Maree along with photographer Anna Leask. Rita Meila and Mary Skillington, who are the project coordinators from ATU Galway, also came to preschool today to meet the children and observe the wonderful work they are doing.

On the last visit we noticed how the children used the space both collaboratively and independently. It was also apparent that some of the children did not want to be limited to one area, while others preferred to have their own space. This made the possibilities infinite.

Following on from this observation, Maree and Naomi decided to provide the children with wooden boards where card was carefully placed with masking tape, and some charcoal. This allowed the children to move around with their work if they wanted to rather than being confined to one space.

A large blank canvas was also stapled along our outside wall with the invitation for the children to add to it. Hassan particularly enjoyed this and was eager to stick some of his work up using the tape.

The rain decided to make an appearance halfway through the activity, which didn’t stop the children as they continued their pictures sheltered under the slide, until the rain got a little too heavy that they decided to move their work indoors.

We are really looking forward to tomorrow’s activity!

Day 2

What a beautiful morning we had with Maree and Naomi from Kids’ Own . Today, the children were introduced to ink and the results were absolutely amazing. The working area was laid out very thoughtfully. The utensils were shiny and new, giving this a feeling of a special occasion for both the children and educators.

Leah Grace carefully placed down cups and brushes in a similar manner to how a table is laid before a special meal. Like all previous activities, the children were not told to take part, instead they were invited to join in and today all of the children decided to get involved.

We observed lots of experimentation with the materials through mixing colours, combining ink and water, creating “waterfalls” and “rivers”,  finding various ways to “print” and many more. The high quality watercolour paper allowed the children to completely embrace the entire process, instead of worrying that the pages might tear if too much water or ink was used. This gave the children the ultimate freedom to express themselves how they wish (all of the children wore old clothes which added to the feeling of freedom). When the ink was dry, we pulled the masking tape off and it created beautiful borders for their work. Thanks again Maree and Naomi for a magical morning that I am sure will be a cherished memory for our very lucky preschoolers.



Day 3

We had another fabulous morning of creativity with Maree and Naomi from Kids’ Own . Yesterday, Mujtaba and Lily had a chat with Maree about what they would use to wet the paper in preparation for the ink and they both suggested getting some snow! Lily then went to search for some snow in the preschool room which was a bit of a challenge until we suggested she scrape some ice from the freezer!

She was so excited to run out with a little cup of ice to show Maree. Following on from this observation, Maree and Naomi decided to bring in some bags of ice for the children to work with this morning. The children showed us so many different ways to use the ice in this activity which made the experience more sensory as they used touch, taste, sight and sound.

Even the process of washing hands was a full sensory experience for them as we used coconut oil, lemon juice and sugar to wash the ink off our hands. We then extended the activity to the larger canvas on the wall which allowed for more movement while painting which created great results.

Photos by Anna Leask

Read more about the project here: