Our Creative Journey

Our Creative Journey is a resource exploring and sharing good practice examples from across Scotland of how expressive arts benefit children. This resource develops the same model as the Care Inspectorate’s recent resource, My World Outdoors, which shares and celebrates the benefits of outdoor play for children.

Our Creative Journey was developed on a collaborative basis with a number of partner organisations, who worked with practitioners to tell their stories, with individual children and parents involved. These examples include art, drama, pretend play, music and song, model making, loose-parts play, storytelling and dance. Our Creative Journey brings to life how taking part in expressive arts can transform children’s experiences. For example, one of the examples features Stripey, a simple puppet made from an egg box and a stripey glove, who has made a big difference to the children and staff at one nursery.

As with our recent resource My Childminding Experience, Our Creative Journey is based on the Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) wellbeing indicators. The examples we have highlighted in this resource demonstrate how experiences of expressive arts contributes to children being safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.

We also reference the new integrated Health and Social Care Standards throughout this document. This is aligned with the way the Care Inspectorate now regulates early learning and childcare (ELC) services, putting children’s outcomes at the forefront of our assessments.

Our Creative Journey is aimed at promoting good practice in all types of ELC settings to help all services aspire to be the best they can be and have the greatest impact on children’s lives. Creative play helps children flourish as confident, resilient and happy individuals and is vital for child development. Creativity is a key ingredient for children to learn how to follow their curiosity, solve problems and make sense of the world.

We feature practice examples from across the full range of ELC service types with private, voluntary and statutory sectors equally represented across rural and urban settings. We have reflected services that are most commonly attended by children in our communities and not just showcased a few high-profile services achieving outstanding grades.

As well as inspecting registered services, we scrutinise local authorities and community planning partnerships. We have therefore included examples from provision that is not regulated by the Care Inspectorate. Widening the practice examples beyond registered services reflects the Care Inspectorate’s duty to lead joint strategic inspections of the provision for all children in a local area, as well as regulating individual services. This also reflects the broad scope of Scotland’s new Health and Social Care Standards, which cover the full spectrum of care beyond just regulated services.

This resource is primarily aimed at practitioners but will also be of interest to parents/carers and anyone looking after or working with children or young people, including statutory social work and education, voluntary sector support services and activity-based provision. Our Creative Journey is part of the wider flourishing of expressive arts for children that we are seeing across Scotland. For example, as well as arts organisations working more with the sector, we are seeing art and play cafes springing up for parents and children and specialist theatre involving young children.

Our Creative Journey has been produced as a printed document, but also a live resource with practice examples regularly updated on the Care Inspectorate’s The Hub website.

The partner organisations involved in developing the resource are Association of Heads and Depute Heads Scotland (AHDS); Care and Learning Alliance (CALA); Children 1st; Creative Scotland; Early Years Scotland; Education Scotland; National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA); Play Scotland; Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA); Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN); Starcatchers; and Stirling Council.