Immersive creative moments that make children go “wow”

Posted: Thu, 02 Dec 2021 09:43

Immersive creative moments that make children go “wow”

The Spark Arts for Children are working with Leicester City Council for a second year to deliver 'Small Wonders'. Through storytelling, music and creative play Small Wonders provides extraordinary creative experiences for 0-7 year olds and their parents and carers.

Artists in residence Dave 'Stickman' Higgins at Pork Pie Library & Community Centre and Sophie Cullinan at St Barnabas Library will work with library staff, schools, nurseries, families and community groups to emphasise the libraries as cultural hubs where everyone is welcome.

Tracy, Nursery Manager, at Playdays Nursery in Leicester has been involved with the sessions over the past year. She has seen children, colleagues and parents/carers completely mesmerised.

Tracy said: "It doesn't matter how confident you are, the artists who we've worked with like Dave 'Stickman' Higgins have made children feel comfortable from the get go.

"Some of the children who can be really shy found their confidence. Whether that's, enjoying the rhythm and clapping, singing, repeating words, exploring books and instruments or moving to sounds. You see their imaginations come to life.

"The sessions are conversation starters. Children go home, they show or they tell their families what they have been up to. We have even recorded their songs or sounds to share with their families.

"For me I've seen the advantages from a personal perspective to as my daughter also took part. Now she makes up her own songs as she walks through the leaves to school or as she plays in the bath. The impact of this work is positive for everyone."

Children's experiences in the early years are crucial to their later educational success.

Liza Foster, Small Wonders Early Years Programme Manager said: "We want the sessions to have a ripple effect. We will be encouraging local library staff and Early Years practitioners to visit hubs like Playdays Nursery to take part in a live session and take away any lessons learnt to use in their own settings so even more children and families can benefit.

"This year we are also working with Spark Associate Artist Manya Benenson, to develop project links with new libraries and communities across the city and extend the reach and impact of the artists' work. We know the past two years have been challenging. For some children they haven't met many people - these sessions demonstrate how to help remove barriers, create belonging and effectively enhance communication."

Cllr Kirk Master, Leicester's assistant city mayor for neighbourhood services, said: "We're delighted to have been involved in submitting this successful bid, and very pleased that our staff will be able to welcome families into two key city libraries to get involved with Small Wonders.

"We have an established and very successful partnership with The Spark Arts for Children, allowing us to bring this exciting creative programme into the heart of our communities.

"By taking part in Small Wonders, families will come to recognise our libraries as stimulating, imaginative and creative places for learning - and for fun."

Small Wonders will offer a series of professional training opportunities to Early Years and library practitioners, managers and senior leaders; alongside a symposium event that will celebrate the outcomes of the project, share best practice through case studies and practical workshops, and build upon local, regional and national connections across the library sector.


Small Wonders is funded using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Leicester City Council's neighbourhood services staff helped to deliver the successful £84,000 bid to Arts Council England.

For more details on the project visit The Spark website or contact Liza Foster on 0116 261 6893.

For interviews or press enquiries please contact Kim Salt, Communications Manager,

Tags: 2021, Community, early years