How can art and culture in the everyday life of the youngest children pave the way for a nonjudgmental and inclusive learning environment? This is what Art EQUAL is investigating across the Nordic countries in a two-year project.
Kulturprinsen has received funding for a two-year strategic partnership project under the EU's Erasmus+ programme with six partners from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Latvia and Denmark. The project builds on the results of the European Children of Culture, focusing on the interplay between the arts and culture and the field of child education.
Art EQUAL focuses on the potential of collaboration between artists and pedagogical staff, and how aesthetic processes can support pedagogical work with well-being, inclusion and community in children's everyday lives.
Considering arts and culture as part of inclusion work is particularly relevant today because there is a strong need to create open-minded learning environments where children from diverse backgrounds can meet, become part of a community and develop their own competences.
In both Art EQUAL and European Children of Culture action learning has been a consistent method, ensuring equal cooperation and the inclusion of each other's experiences with the children. A common feature of all programmes has been the reflection after the activities on how the challenge has been worked on, a common focus on what needs to be adjusted or done differently, and what activities need to be put into play next time in order to get closer to a solution to the challenge described.
Inclusive learning environments
I Art EQUAL there is a special focus on how the collaboration between professional artists and pedagogical staff in day care and primary school can contribute to the work with inclusive learning environments. Experience from the practical sessions shows that artistic and cultural activities have a positive impact on children in particularly vulnerable positions, including through their experience of being participants in new ways.
New inspirational material for day care and primary school
These experiences will be further researched in 2019 and will form the basis of a new online platform with inspirational materials and reflection tools for day care providers and schools who want to collaborate with professional artists. The platform will also include an implementation strategy with suggestions on what can be done at local level to ensure all children's encounter with arts and culture in everyday life.
Art EQUAL will culminate in a final international conference in Riga (Latvia) in early June 2019.