On Monday 19 September, Minister of Culture Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen will visit Emilie Kindergarten in Hjørring, where she will play with art together with children, educators and artists.

It will probably be a slightly different working day that awaits Minister of Culture Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen when she is on the floor of the Emilie kindergarten in Hjørring on Monday 19 September. She will be playing with soap scum and colours with children, teachers and artist Lina Franke, who has been a regular guest at the nursery for several months as part of the LegeKunst project.

During the visit to Emilie Kindergarten, the Minister of Culture will experience what happens when an artist works with educators and children to explore how art and culture can promote play and education in day care.

"We are convinced that with just one visit, the Minister of Culture will experience what it does for children when they are allowed to express themselves creatively and artistically. We therefore hope that by being part of the creative moment together with the children, the educators and the artist, the Minister of Culture will experience that art and culture make a big difference in children's everyday lives and can help to solve a number of the challenges that we see in our youngest children with loneliness, too little play, language and motor challenges, failure of inclusion and absence of community," says Ulla Voss Gjesing, centre manager at Kulturprinsen, which is behind LegeKunst.

LegeKunst is currently Denmark's largest children's culture project with the participation of municipalities throughout the country and affects 20,000 children, 2,000 educators, 8,000 student educators and approximately 100 artists and cultural mediators.


Arts and culture can help fight child and youth deprivation

In recent years, there has been a greater focus on the importance of play and creativity in children's everyday lives. Play and creativity are included in the objectives of the Day Care Act, and both the Primary School Act and the recently adopted new teacher training programme focus more on practical and musical subjects. Recently, the Confederation of Danish Industry has presented a proposal with seven measures to promote Danish cultural life locally and nationally, and especially the youngest citizens, for example a Schools' Culture Day and a special pool targeted at primary schools, SFO, leisure and club facilities, so that children from an early age can experience culture as a regular element in their everyday lives.

Kulturprinsens believes that even more needs to be done at national level if all children in Denmark are to have access to art and culture in their everyday lives.

"If arts and culture are to really work, we need a new paradigm where arts and culture are not just entertainment, but a practical profession. That's why we need to look at how we get it up on a national level. LegeKunst is a concrete example of how to support the good that emerges in a time-limited project, so that the experience and knowledge created during the project's lifetime are not lost, but become part of a municipal and national strategy with anchoring, dissemination and structure," says Camilla Høg, project manager in LegeKunst.

Several studies show that an increasing number of children and young people are experiencing deprivation in the form of loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression. Here, according to Kulturprinsens experience, art and creativity can support efforts to stop this trend by creating performance-free spaces, inclusion of all children, new habits, well-being, education and motivation. Many years of experience from day-care centres across the country and the seven associated research projects show that programmes such as LegeKunst strengthen children's encounter with art and culture and thus their access to cultural experiences and to expressing themselves through art and creativity.