Author(s): Clark J, McCaughey C
Abstract: The University evaluation team was asked to formally evaluate a project within the Leam Lane Sure Start programme – the Messy Days programme. The case study took place between November 2004 and March 2005, and used a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Data was generated and gathered from interviews (both formal and informal), questionnaires, group discussions, participant observation and documentary analysis. Messy Days is designed to benefit both children and parents (or their carer), and is a creative group where children are given the opportunity to engage in play activities while raising parental awareness of the importance of play. There is no formal referral process, and it is a popular activity which usually has a waiting list. The findings of the evaluation are mostly positive, and are presented in this report, alongside recommendations which suggest ways of developing and improving the Messy Days programme further. Eleven recommendations have been made, based on the findings from data analysis, which include issues such as: 1. Regular review and evaluation 2. Offering a more focussed Messy Days programme 3. Embedding the Foundation Stage curriculum 4. Additional play 5. Dedicated venue 6. Planning 7. Programme length 8. Reaching the ‘hard to reach’ 9. Staffing 10. Involving parents 11. Resources for home.
Keywords: Programme Evaluation, early years, creativity, Sure Start