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* Keeping kids occupied in summer holidays - cheap creative ideas

* Two mums who started a national chain of franchises - how can you follow suit?

* How to entertain two kids under 5

* Is Art suffering in schools?

I'm contacting you from Mucky Pups with a few editorial feature ideas that I hope will be of use to you. Perhaps we can fit in with a feature you already have planned?

(Mucky Pups is a pre school art and craft club with franchises nationwide. The unique selling point is that kids can make as much mess as they like and Mucky Pups clears up! It covers part of the Early Years Learning programme set out by the government. See www.mucky-pups.com.)

Possible features:

1: School holidays - taking children somewhere everyday can become expensive. Mucky Pups has cheap and simple creative ideas to share with your readers on how they can survive those rainy days at home. Eg: using everyday objects such as leaves, and toilet rolls to create mini masterpieces!

2. "I want a job that I only have to do in term time, inside school hours which allows me to meet people and take my pre school child with me. But I don't want to return to work stress.."
How many times have you said/heard this? Meet Fiona Haji-Michael and Kate Hepworth, co founders of Mucky Pups pre school art and craft clubs. They founded the company in 2003 with one class in Cheshire. They have now sold franchises nationwide and still claim that the business fits in around the total of 5 children they have between them. How can other women follow suit? Fiona left a demanding, well-paid career and Kate is a qualified teacher.

3. Q: I have two children under 5, one is too young for physical activity clubs, the other finds singing clubs too babyish. How can I entertain them both at the same time?
A: Start/join an art class, or encourage art at home. Take it in turns with other mums to host a weekly pre school art morning. As soon as your child can sit up and grasp a paint brush, they can begin to benefit from art. (We can provide creative ideas/themes for this.)

The benefits include:

• Freely exploring a wide variety of materials and techniques
• Learning, through creativity and experimentation, competent problem solving skills
• Feeling good about themselves and their abilities
• Experimenting with cause and effect while developing small motor skills and hand/eye co-ordination
• Learning that it is the process and not the product that is the key to having fun!
• Focusing their energy constructively
• Learning about the world around them with seasonal weekly themes
• Taking part in a unique learning experience

4. You need qualifications to work in a nursery or school, but no qualifications to be a parent.
Hands up if you are a parent of a pre school child who has no idea what the Early Years Learning programme set out by the government is? Hands up if your childcare is taken care of by a friend or relative? We explain what the Early Years Learning programme is, and how you can ensure that your child benefits from some of these pointers, even if they don't go to nursery, preschool or playschool. Kate Hepworth is a qualified teacher.

5. Is art suffering in schools?
Art is a compulsory subject in primary schools. But although at some primary schools it is timetabled, the Government does not lay down specific time allocations - this is a school decision. Unfortunately the main limiting factor in primary schools is the availability of appropriate facilities, particularly where work can be left out over a period of more than one lesson. Schools which have dedicated art rooms are much more able to take on exciting longer term projects than those that are confined to using multipurpose classrooms - but these are few and far between. What can you do as a parent, to ensure that your child still gets to express their creativity. We can provide quotes from Primary School teachers and advice from Mucky Pups founders.

I am an experienced feature writer and can provide you with a written feature if you email me with the wordcount and deadline (This can be unbiased and won't plug Mucky Pups!). Alternatively I can set up an exclusive interview for you with Fiona or Kate, so that you can research/write the article. We have plenty of high res, professional photography we can send you.

I look forward to speaking with you. Please find pasted below a sample article.

Kind regards,

Emma Creasey
PR on behalf of Mucky Pups
07785 522 550.
emmacreasey@hotmail.com

“All children are artists. It is keeping them as artists that is the problem.” Picasso

Is art suffering in schools as a result of the busy curriculum? Should parents and carers get into the routine of encouraging art at home from an early age? Nicky McNab, Essex franchise owner of Mucky Pups pre school art and craft club, looks at the facts.

The BBC recently reported that thousands of primary school pupils in the highlands won't be given lessons in PE, art or music from visiting teachers next term due to budget changes.

The public school system often cuts into programs like art and music when budgets tighten. This is in contrast to current trends in pre school care, which include CD's of classical music produced especially for babies and young children, and videos that introduce infants to music and art.

Yet, when our children reach school age, many schools choose to weaken the emphasis on the arts when budget cuts come. These subjects are almost seen as extra-curricular, instead of essential to a good education.

Is art compulsory in schools?
Art is a compulsory subject in primary schools. At some primary schools it is timetabled, but the Government does not lay down specific time allocations - this is a school decision.

The main limiting factor in primary schools is the availability of appropriate facilities, particularly where work can be left out over a period of more than one lesson.

Schools which have dedicated art rooms are much more able to take on exciting longer term projects than those that are confined to using multipurpose classrooms.

The National Curriculum (which can be accessed via www.qca.gov.org.uk) lays down the expectation of what should be taught to primary children. This includes opportunities for lots of types of art work, such as studying the work of famous artists.

Within the National Curriculum, "the arts" include art and design, music, dance and drama.

Music and art and design are recognised as foundation subjects, with their own curriculum.

Arts subjects are compulsory until aged 14 years (the end of Key Stage 3). At Key Stage 4 the arts are optional.

Planning to be creative
Art for children won’t happen without teachers and parents planning it.

In schools, the headteacher and governing body are responsible for organising the teaching of the statutory curriculum, including the time given to the arts curriculum.

It is recommended that all schools either designate a governor to be the link governor for the arts, or allocate separate governors for different arts curriculum areas.

The arts are an important part of a broad and balanced education for every child, whether or not they end up pursuing a career in this field. Art provides an important and unique way of communicating, seeing and responding to the world.

Children love art, craft and mucky time but don’t always have the opportunity to explore and experiment with the freedom they desire. Grown ups can be afraid of the mess whereas children aren’t.

What can parents and carers do?
If parents and carers get into the routine of encouraging art at home during pre school years, they can ensure that their children reap the benefits of being given the opportunity to be creative.

If parents and carers don’t have the equipment, the space or the inspiration to do art at home, pre school classes such as Mucky Pups will provide guidance and get them into the routine of being creative at an early age.

Exciting themes such as the weather, textures and the human body, often provide a great foundation for encouraging art. These themes can be continued and explored in more detail as the children grow up and start school.

Classes such as Mucky Pups are proven to empower children to:

• Freely explore a wide variety of materials and techniques
• Learn, through creativity and experimentation, competent problem solving skills
• Feel good about themselves and their abilities
• Experiment with cause and effect while developing small motor skills and hand/eye co-ordination
• Learn that it is the process and not the product that is the key to having fun!
• Focus their energy constructively
• Learn about the world around them with seasonal weekly themes
• Take part in a unique learning experience

Inspire by being inspired

But it’s not just about getting mucky. Children can acquire skills, knowledge and understanding of art in a variety of ways. As well as direct teaching, they could have planned opportunities to visit art galleries; experience adults doing art at local craft centres, or see live dance and theatre.

Children need to be given the opportunity to not only make art, but to respond to art and then use and apply what they learn in their own work.

They need to have their own work responded to and appreciated by others, including other children, teachers, parents and the community and this means that there should be opportunity to perform or present their work to others. Mucky Pups classes encourage ‘circle time’, where children proudly take their work to the front of the class.

As well as learning about art, children can learn through art. For example art and design can help explain patterns in maths. Using art as a medium for teaching and learning is exciting and motivating for many children.

Art at home

But if you don’t have a kids' art class nearby, how can you work with the materials you have at home? Here are Mucky Pups top five tips:

• Look - Like music, art is everywhere. Look at art and shapes that are in your home
• Discuss different styles of illustrators in children's picture books
• Look at books on art and artists and talk about the art - how does it make you feel? Describe it. What do you think it is about?
• Go to local art museums - take your time and explore.
• Have a go! You’ll be amazed at how kids respond to this one-to-one time.

Mucky Pups covers part of the Early Years Learning programme set out by the government and the themes have been put together by a qualified teacher.
Mucky Pups was formed in 2003 and is THE place to paint, stick, make craft projects, use play and salt dough, and create with food, and cut & colour.

Mucky Pups Essex classes are on:

• Mondays, at the Champions Manor Hall, Hullbridge Road, in South Woodham Ferrers, at 1.45pm to 2.45pm.

• Thursdays at the Millennium Centre, in Great Baddow, Chelmsford, 10.00am to 11.00am.

• Fridays at the Springfield Parish Centre,St Augustine's Way, Springfield, Chelmsford, between 10.00am and 11.00am.

For further inspiration visit www.mucky-pups.com

Other Mucky Pups franchises are still available throughout the UK. For details on owning a franchise please contact either Kate on 01625 537219, or Fiona on 01625 533453.


This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Venture PR in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Women's Interest & Beauty, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.