The Arts & Play program is a way of focusing on the importance of play in child development. It was established by Heather Pringle, a past volunteer, who used her creative skills to build a repeatable model.
Often children in East Africa are not given the opportunity to think for themselves, make decisions and express opinions or ideas. Creativity is often not encouraged, and for a creative mind this can be limiting and restricting. The Arts & Play program offers space inside or outside the timetable and ideas to approach in class.
The arts & play team have transformed the children of the ward back into children again. Children whose mothers never thought their children would play and smile again are so joyful to see their children laughing, painting and playing again.
Elizabeth, Jinja children’s hospital
The arts and play program is continually run in a number of schools as well as hospitals. The impact of the program has been significant, from the teachers and children forming a better bond to seeing the children in the hospital become active and play again for the first time since their illness. The program is adapted to each setting and group of children enabling us to reach children no matter their background or ability.
Arts & Play are tools for exploring individuality, self expression and finding relaxation or stimulation in new ways. The program is important in terms of communicating to teachers, staff and individuals what the real value of creativity and freedom can be. If teachers understand and become open to Arts & Play, perhaps as a teaching method or part of the curriculum then there is a greater chance that children can experience all areas of education and learning to develop holistically.