Anne Wood, doyenne of children's TV, originator of 'Rosie & Jim', 'Teletubbies' and pretty much everything else worth watching over the last 30 years, has written an insightful piece on the importance of the arts in children's lives for Arts Council England's 'Create' journal.

She begins with the historical reflection that 'childhood' as a prominent matter of social and political concern only really lasted about a 100 years (from the 1850's to the 1950's) and was then superceded by a fixation with teenagers (and more recently 'youth').

Childhood is nowadays largely bemoaned as something which is 'lost' or which passes far too quickly, but Anne makes a clear case for focussing renewed attention on the cultural needs of children. "As children are rehearsing to be grown-ups", she argues, "imaginative experiences enabled by the arts can help construct consciousness in ways that the rules of regulated learning do not allow. Involvement in the arts...can widen horizons, release tensions, encourage aspirations and offer alternative visions to each individual child."

This is a process which we at Children & the Arts witness on a daily basis in all the projects we initiate and these are vital experiences for the future of society as a whole.

Read the full publication here

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