At the Early Childhood Ireland Gala Awards Evening on Friday 17th April, Cheeky Cherubs Early Years Schools were awarded an Innovation Award for ‘Building Creative Communities’ in which we outlined our introduction of the Fruit Monsters and our Early Years Art Exhibition ‘This is Me’. We were also awarded a Learning Story Award for ‘Ladybirds and Nature’. Since the inception of the Learning Story Awards in 2012, we have been awarded the accolade a total of four times.
The Gala Awards Night was part of the two day Early Childhood Ireland Conference “Play on the Brain”. The team attended both the awards and the conference. Sarah and Michele led a presentation on our winning Innovation Award to participants, attendees and colleagues. The team attended an inspirational lecture by Keynote Speaker, Maria Aarts who is the founder of the Marte Meo curriculum approach.
As Early Childhood Ireland have summarized our Learning Story award for “Ladybirds and Nature”:
“In this Learning Story, the infants were outside playing in the garden when they came across some ladybirds. The educators noticed their fascination in the ladybirds. They recognised the opportunity this provided for them to explore nature in greater depth. They responded to this interest by engaging in various activities that would reinforce the infant’s knowledge of the world around them. They provided opportunities for them to discover what it was like to feel the ladybirds on their skin; what it felt to explore the soil with their hands and their feet; to feel the texture of flowers and leaves, all of which enhanced the infant’s sensory development.”
And a summary of our Innovation Award for “Building Creative Communities”:
“From simple art displays in the Cheeky Cherubs classrooms to the heady heights of the Cork City Hall Exhibition Space this innovative project demonstrates the creativity of young children and the creative thinking and community approach of their educators.
In an ever widening collaborative process young children’s work is made visible to the city just as the city is made visible to the children. Choosing favourite pieces of art, critiquing them, and then creating their own masterpieces is a regular occurrence in Cheeky Cherubs. Painting their own Mona Lisa they discuss what expression they will use. Eanna chooses ‘Happy, because all people should be happy and not make up stories like Pinocchio!’ The images provided portray the rich and aesthetic opportunities these children enjoy. Developing new partnerships with other services unleashed a wave of creativity that made its way all the way to City Hall. The respect given to the children, their capabilities, and their creations are clearly visible throughout this project.
Creative partnerships in Cheeky Cherubs cross into all areas of the curriculum. When developing new healthy eating practices their creative flair once again came to the fore. They have replaced lavish treats and birthday cakes with a healthy creative alternative – THE FRUIT MONSTER
Using a wide range of fruits the children are involved in creating a fruit monster. The images show just how scary but delicious these monsters are. This has proved so successful that families are now creating their own monsters at home. Noelle the cook has formed a partnership with the children as they now take turns to help with the cooking. “I put a lot of love into my cooking and to see the excitement and enthusiasm the children have as they make these healthy snacks and dinners with me is inspiring…”
This innovation reminds us once again how the creative arts are such a vital and enriching curriculum component for early years. Cheeky Cherubs have embraced creativity and embedded it in children’s work and play, be it in everyday moments or special occasions. They have also encouraged the wider early years and city communities to acknowledge and celebrate young children’s creative capabilities”
Thank you to all of our families for your continued support and for your consent, allowing your children to be included in this work.