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  • Seoidín O`Sullivan

    Created 2012-08-30 by Seoidín O`Sullivan

    Location: Fingal - Co. Dublin

    Duration: 2012-08-30 to 2013-09-03

Project Outline

The Wonder Project is an early years music and visual arts programme for Traveller children and their mothers from north county Dublin that occurred in 2012 and 2013.  Artists Jackie Maguire and Seoidín O’Sullivan in partnership with Fingal County Childcare Committee  (FCCC) and Fingal Travellers Organisation (FTO) delivered the early year’s arts programme.  The Wonder Project aimed to increase arts participation within a group who are greatly marginalised in Irish society and who traditionally do not engage in early years services.  By engaging Traveller mothers and their children, through music and visual arts on a weekly basis, we aimed to create a space where together they could explore, create, enquire, participate and communicate.

’The Wonder Project’ developed a critical and creative pedagogical space that combined visual art and music to work with a marginalised group of Traveller mothers and children. The project adopted a multi sensory learning approach to encourage, develop and support early learning skills. We were interested in exploring what happens to children and parents when you do not curtail them creatively, but instead give them the space both internally and externally to be creative.

We created non-hierarchical learning spaces that offered participants, both mothers and children the opportunity to feel empowered. Critical Pedagogy aims to challenge traditional hierarchical teaching approaches and provide a more equitable approach, where the artist and the participants learn collaboratively and work alongside each other.  This ‘reciprocal learning approach’ that Freire promotes, negates the notion that the artist/teacher holds all the knowledge and skills but instead acknowledges that the child, parent and artist all have something to bring to this learning relationship. ‘Exploration’ and ‘Freedom’ were key tenets within this art project. We aimed to provide opportunities for young children and their mothers to explore the world around them and to be given the freedom, space and resources to do this. 

Through ‘The Wonder Project’ we began to learn from each other, to share experiences, to challenge each other, to take risks and to push boundaries.  Similarly, we encourage children and mothers to explore, to try something new and to think outside of the box.   Through these relationships a common language is shared where the artist and parent discuss child development theory and begin to understand the child more deeply.  These conversations can have a profound impact on the child and parent relationship in the home, as the parent begins to literally ‘tune in’’ to their child’s own frequency and to understand what makes them tick, what their dominant learning styles/schemas are, and what interests them. 

Project Details

  • Location: Fingal
  • From date: 2012-08-30
  • To date: 2013-09-03
  • Length: 1 Year
  • Participants per session: Up to 15 adults and Children
  • Age range of participants:
  • County(ies):
  • Related Organisation(s):
    Fingal County Childcare Commitee, Fingal Traveller Organisation
  • Funding Bodies:
    National Lottery Fund
  • Other Related Artists:
    Jackie Macguire

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