Early Years Strand

This strand of work provides opportunities for children aged 0-5, their families and siblings. The early years are a hugely important stage in children’s development and so much can be achieved through providing musical opportunities for young people, supporting their communication and attachment with parents. In this strand of our work we tend to provide opportunities in targeted local areas of deprivation, where children and their families may face developmental delays and/or where there are high levels of English as an additional language.
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Current projects:


Sounds of Play: Quench Arts is coordinating this project on behalf of Birmingham Early Years Music Consortium, working alongside Nicola Burke and Birmingham Forward Steps. Sounds of Play involves a consortium of 7 arts and music organisations, 6 early years services and the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC). The project will establish a community of practice that will bring the early years community and the music practitioner community to work together ensuring that quality music making opportunities are offered to families and children across the city. Sounds of Play will join up the two workforces (early years and music) which are currently disconnected and also further connect the music organisations with each other to ensure their early years offer has a joined-up approach across the city. A range of CPD opportunities will be delivered for both workforces. This will involve CPD opportunities for those in positions of leadership and for those working directly with families and children. This will develop knowledge and understanding of EY Music of those that strategically lead and plan early years music provision and for those that deliver it. The goal is that within the two years of funding, the project moves from offering direct CPD opportunities to creating leaders and mentors, enabling quality early years music practice to be sustainable. This programme is funded by Youth Music and will run between 2019-end March 2022.

Early Hurly Burly (Smile Project) -Early Hurly Burly is a West Midlands music and libraries project for Early Years/pre-school children and their families. It consists of 15 “Smile” family workshops to develop learning & support relationship building skills between carers/children and 9 performances of the theatrical music production ‘Smile’ by Mishmash productions. Quench Arts are working in partnership with Solihull Music and Library Services to deliver local project elements. The EHB partnership is led by Encore Enterprises CIC and the full range of partners are:

• Herefordshire Library Services
• Make Some Noise
• Shropshire Library Services
• Solihull Library Services
• Solihull Music Service
• Staffordshire & Stoke Library Services
• Walsall Music Education Services

This programme is funded by Arts Council England.

Past projects:


Musical Wonderland - a project for early years children under 5 and their families which uses children’s books as a stimulus for music-making in Chelmsley Wood and Handsworth. The project aimed to use music as a way to build a love of books and local libraries to inspire literacy development. Monthly sessions and excursions have been based on books from The Book Trust's top 100 books for under 5s. The project also provided themed training for Early Years Workers and librarians linked to the resources plus offered 4 shadow roles to emerging musicians and local parents, with a view to sustainability. This project was kindly supported by Youth Music and builds on learning from our previous 'Triangle Project', working in partnership with Services for Education (Birmingham Music Service) and Solihull Music Service. Musical Wonderland was initially delivered in Chelmsley Wood but we were incredibly grateful to Youth Music for providing us with further funding to sustain the project there and helped us to develop the model for delivery in Handsworth, Birmingham, where many families may use English as a 2nd language. This project finished in September 2018 and we very much hope to develop the model further in the future. We have 2 activity books from Musical Wonderland available to download. Join our Quench Arts Resource Page via Facebook (under the 'files' tab) to access all of our worksheets for free: here.

Early Hurly Burly (previous projects) - Quench Arts worked with Frankley Library, Handsworth Library and Castle Vale Library on the Early Hurly Burly Performances project for under 5s and their families on behalf of Music Service - Services for Education. Early Hurly Burly was funded by Arts Council England and run in partnership with other West Midlands Music Hubs and Library Services. This Early Hurly Burly activity built upon a successful Engaging Early Years in Music Libraries project (2014/15). For this recent project, a West Midlands consortium (including 12 Local Authorities) developed its music/theatre performance programme for Early Years. Three exciting, high quality shows were booked (one for each of three terms) for presentation in library settings, reaching audiences of 1,800 across the West Midlands and also provided significant professional development experience and training for library staff in performance event management and marketing. A complementary symposium event drew together theatre/ music practitioners to explore development of new work for this age group. Exciting stuff!

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