The benefits of exposing your child to creative experiences in early childhood are numerous. Creativity enables children, whose language skills are still developing, to express themselves non-verbally as well as to make sense of the world around them. They interact with different colours, textures and materials, heightening their senses, providing opportunities for learning new vocabulary and developing a wealth of essential skills such as fine and gross motor control, scissor skills, ability to follow instructions, listening, early scientific thinking and problem solving. Children begin to make their own choices and decisions and form their own ideas and preferences encouraging their curiosity and fueling their imaginations.
As a mum of two young children, Susie Durston was always keen to provide creative and messy play experiences for her girls. She says there was always an area of her house that was covered in paint, playdough, glitter and glue, but she noticed a lack of creative opportunities for pre-school age children outside of the home, in the suburbs surrounding Perth. Most activities of an artistic, creative, nature seemed to be aimed at school aged children, missing out these important early years.
When her youngest daughter started Kindy at their local school, Susie decided to set up Kids Get Crafty, a unique venture offering art and craft classes to children aged between 2 and 5. Being an experienced early years primary teacher, Susie had hundreds of ideas for craft projects with this age group.
Kids Get Crafty offers a different theme every week with 4 or 5 fun activities for children to complete with a parent/carer alongside them. The classes offer a supportive environment in which to have a go at different projects and interact socially with other children and adults. The children leave with a great sense of pride over the pieces they take home each week and the parents/carers very much enjoy the fact that everything is taken care of; the ideas, preparation, materials and the clean up!
In under 4 years Kids Get Crafty has seen great success with many children attending every week for 12 months or more and reaping the rewards of these early creative experiences, as well as spending quality time with their special adult.
Kids Get Crafty classes can currently be found in the suburbs of Kardinya and Applecross, but Susie hopes to be able to add more locations to the timetable in the near future.
Words by Susie Durston