We're very pleased to be able to confirm that we've received a mini commission from Luton Culture to develop a new piece of multi-sensory storytelling as part of their new monthly sessions for families at Central Library.
This is a concept we have been seeking opportunities to develop for some time as it very much responds to needs identified both by early years and primary school staff working in the town, but also contributes towards wider agendas around ensuring children receive 'enough' movement and physical experience in early childhood. Movement builds brains. And, movement is vital for ensuring children have strong vestibular systems, sound proprioception, core and neck strength, and good eye tracking skills; all these elements enable children to be able to self-regulate, to read, write, concentrate, and be able to sit comfortably without fidgeting or slumping. There is a direct correlation between poor literacy skills and a lack of appropriate or sufficent movement in early childhood.
Through our love of Rhythmic Movement Therapy, as well as general fine and gross motor play, Dance Movement Therapy, and multi-sensory resources, we have a vast amount of skill, knowledge and curiosity to play with, and our chosen route for exploration is the concept of a 'hidden' river.
Luton's Central Library is built over the top of the river Lea, which rises near Marsh Farm and meanders its way down to London to join the Thames, and then to finally merge with the sea. Taking this concept of a river hidden beneath our feet, we aim to use a variety of movement opportunities and sensory experiences to bring the river and its inhabitants to life.
While we will be entertaining children with tales of the riverbank and the ancient Celtic history of Luton's earliest communities, we will also be modelling for grown-ups a range of movement strategies and play experiences that support regulation, encourage and enhance crawling, work with balance and core strength, and that also build connection and communication.
We're really looking forward to offering a taster session to work with the concept and, hopefully, if successful, we can then look at developing this into a new touring piece for 2019.