EYFS Framework Guide: Expressive Arts and Design
2.What is Expressive Arts and Design?
In the EYFS framework, Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) is one of the four specific areas of learning.
Expressive Arts and Design involves supporting children to explore and play with a wide variety of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design technology.
3.Two aspects of Expressive Arts and Design in the EYFS
4.Helping children to develop their imagination
Expressive Arts and Design covers the area of learning and Development which was called ‘Creative Development’ in the original EYFS framework, along with ‘Designing and Making’ which was found in ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’.
Being Imaginative covers previous aspects of ‘Being Creative – responding to Experiences, Expressing and Communicating Ideas’, ‘Exploring Media and Materials and Creating Music and Dance’ - and ‘Designing and Making.’
Being Imaginative focuses on how children use what they have learned about media and materials in purposeful and original ways. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through art and design, music, dance, role play and stories. Practitioners should provide a stimulating environment in which creativity, orginality and expressiveness are valued.
5.How can we support young children to develop their skills in being imaginative?
Attitudes and ethos
The physical environment
Links to the prime areas of learning
Supporting different ways of learning
Building partnerships with parents
6.Our attitudes and ethos
As a staff do we have a shared understanding of what being imaginative and creativity mean?
Do all practitioners recognise that children’s imagination and creativity can be fostered by responsive adults from babyhood?
How do we ensure that we foster children’s imagination and creativity across all areas of learning?
Do we appoint staff who demonstrate at interview that they can be imaginative themselves and that they value children’s developing imagination and creativity?
How well do we act as provocateurs to stimulate children’s imaginative play, exploration and representation of their ideas and thoughts?
Is the learning environment arranged to ensure that children can easily, independently access the resources they need to support their learning and development in ‘being imaginative’?
Do we make sure that children have the space and time necessary to become deeply involved in imaginative expression?
Do we make the most of the indoor environment by giving children opportunities to explore the effects of light – both natural and artificial?
How well do we make provision for imaginary play by providing real everyday items for children to use in their role play?
Have we tried introducing resources to inspire reflection and imagination in the youngest children, such as bubbles to blow, fabrics to handle or a range of music to listen to?
8.Links to the prime areas of learning
Expressive Art and Design begins at a very early age, long before a child is three.
‘Practitioners working with the youngest children should focus on the prime areas, but also recognise that the foundations of all areas of learning are laid from birth’- for example literacy in the very early sharing of books.’
[Tickell Review of the EYFS, 2011]
Are natural and reclaimed resources used to engage babies’ and toddlers’ interests and fascinations?
Have we considered how the games we play with young children will encourage their imagination – peek-a-boo or hide and seek, for example?
How well do staff model pretending and imagining – are they willing to act out being animals or characters in stories they read to children?
Do we provide links to communication and language and literacy by introducing telephones, walkie-talkies or magazines into imaginative play?
9.Supporting different ways of learning
Are the resources we provide to support children’s imaginative expression rich in variety, quality and quantity to appeal to individual interests and learning styles?
Do we focus observations on the occasions when we see individual children being imaginative or demonstrating their curiosity?
What techniques do we use to involve children in imaginative play, particularly those who do not find it easy?
Are our perceptions of what is acceptable or preferable in imaginative play related to gender, perhaps hindering the learning and children of some children, particularly boys?
10.Building partnerships with parents
In what ways do we show parents the importance of supporting their children’s imaginative play?
Could we improve the ways in which we provide parents with examples of their children, and others in the group, being imaginative and creative across all areas of learning?
How well do we work with parents to help them see how being imaginative and demonstrating creativity is fundamental to children developing an enquiring mind?
What could we do to improve what we currently offer?