Early Years Residency
Hello, my name is Noah. I am a singer and theatre maker. I came to the Village on a four-month artist’s residency, to work with their early-years programme.
As a neurodiverse person, I’ve always been interested in communication. What people say isn’t always (or is often not) what they mean. I found that decoding those complexities, and learning to make myself understood, took a huge amount of effort. Very young people depend initially entirely on non-verbal expression, and while adults often read these expressions well, there is a lack of free-play between adults and children. Through my physical theatre and vocal practice, I experiment with alternative ways of communicating and connecting with people; finding the ‘rules’ to be significantly more straightforward. In the work I did with the Village, I wanted to offer these tools for play, communication, and bonding within families. I worked to develop activities that families could play at home, or out in the world, using movement and noise-making to facilitate interactions between parents and children.
The Village’s community-learning approach (involving adults directly in storytelling activities with their 0-5’s) was a perfect place to explore these interactions. I started observing Miriam working with the 0-5 age group, and getting a sense of the activities that resonated most with the families. I began my involvement by suggesting sound and movement activities for the sessions. I wanted to encourage the young people’s own interests, to empower and support them to follow their own curiosity, and to bring their adults with them on that journey. Sometimes this led to sessions looking quite chaotic!
During the four months that I was the artist-in-residence, a lot changed for the families and young people at the Village. Spring turned to Summer, and some of the youngest people I met at the Village took their first steps! They changed so much it was impossible to plan for them, so I was obliged to engage with whatever interest/mood/level of focus they were bringing on the day – this meant really letting them lead. Autonomy and child-led exploration formed the foundation for the games and activities we developed. In so many cases the young people either knew instinctively what to do or made something totally their own – showing the adults in the room how to play.
We developed a workshop for families in the local community, working with The Warm Place, Make Do & Grow Toy Library, and Govan Tots in order to deliver it. This workshop explored the child-led sound and movement based activities we’d been working with, plus some new games developed especially for the workshop. It was lovely engaging with more families and getting to know a couple more of the community organisations in the area. It was also great to see how new groups of young people interacted with the activities.
I’m so grateful to the Village for this opportunity, and for all the families I had the chance to spend time and explore with.
Some Feedback from our participants:
Myself and baby loved every minute of the singing and story telling.
I feel there was good balance between songs, story and crafts.
Keep being a happy and positive place for families!