In 2019, Starcatchers’ campaign Making My Mark celebrated the role that arts and creative experiences can play in helping children learn about their rights during their earliest years 

We want to inspire grown-ups to put arts and creative experiences at the heart of interactions with babies and young children. 

Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, said: “The inspiration for this campaign came from Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, which showed the positive and powerful impact older children can have when they are empowered to participate meaningfully and influence decisions that affect their own lives. 

However, it is during a child’s earliest years that they begin to develop the self-belief, confidence and skills that will help ensure they can participate effectively later on.  

“The arts and creative experiences like music, storytelling, theatre, movement, mark-making, painting, drawing and craft all provide fantastic opportunities for very young children to learn about their rights.  

“For example, closely observe a baby’s facial expressions, gaze, movement and sounds as they engage with music, singing, storytelling. These are moments of self-expression. When others respond positively and sensitively babies are learning that they are listened to and valued  that they have a voice.  

As a child grows they can be supported to engage with all kinds of arts and creative experiences. When a young child creates something – a sound, a new movement, or even just a splodge on a pag they are  developing a sense of their own agency, that sense that they are independent, have choice and can make a difference. Again, they are learning that they have a  voice.  

“Through this campaign we want to celebrate those magical moments when children are developing that all-important sense of agency. We want adults to create as many opportunities as possible for babies and young children to explore, experiment, concentrate, persevere, make choices and express themselves through the arts and creative activities.”