Starcatchers is Scotland’s Arts and Early Years organisation. We believe in the transformational power of the arts to inspire Scotland’s youngest children and the adults who care for them. We deliver this vision through three pillars of activity rooted in creativity and designed to connect with our youngest citizens, their parents and carers, and Early Years practitioners in communities across Scotland.
What began as an experiment in Muirhouse in October 2006, exploring performances for babies from birth to 3 years, an audience previously uncatered for, has gone through many different phases to emerge as an organisation that works in communities across Scotland using the arts to transform and enrich the lives of Scotland’s under 5s.
In 2006, people questioned what the point of theatre and creativity for babies was. Today, people question why there isn’t more.
We believe that young children have the right to access innovative, inspirational, high quality and age appropriate theatrical and creative experiences. Working with specialist artists, we produce beautiful and inspiring performances for very young children aged birth-5, and tour to venues and communities across Scotland and internationally.
We deliver engagement projects across Scotland, exploring the positive role that artists play in communities. Our projects are playful, welcoming and fun and aim to benefit the lives of young families by using the arts and creativity as a vehicle for improved infant-adult wellbeing, strengthened relationships, parental confidence, and to encourage early childhood development.
We deliver programmes of professional development for artists and early learning and childcare practitioners to develop their practice using arts and creativity with very young children. Our artist development opportunities are designed to enable artists who are seeking to develop their artistic practice when working with very young children and their parents and carers.
Playspace is Starcatchers’ artist development programme for artists committed to working with or developing work for babies and young children. Through Playspace, we support artists across all artforms at different stages of their careers – from those interested in learning more about working with this age group to those who are experienced and want to develop their practice.
Our pioneering Creative Skills Programme takes place in local authorities across Scotland, run by specialist artists and facilitators using a playful, child-led approach that helps support the delivery of key policies.
Our goal is to advance children’s rights to engage with and participate in arts and cultural experiences from birth and, through this, amplify young children’s agency and voice.
Our youngest children are often those who are the least heard and the least able to access their rights.
Babies and very young children realise their rights through lived experience. The arts offer opportunities for self expression, and communication helps young children realise their rights long before they can understand the language that describes them.
Starcatchers has a strategic role in advocating for the rights of babies, toddlers and young children to arts and cultural provision as set out in Article 31 of the UNCRC.
We will work to ensure that access to arts and culture from birth, and throughout a child’s earliest years, is a national priority.
We work collaboratively and extensively with partners who explore a child rights approach to work and in 2021 we were proud to support the Year of Childhood, hosted by Children’s Parliament.