The Magpie Project supports pre-school children and their mums who are living in temporary or insecure accommodation or are homeless in Newham and surrounding boroughs.
Research has shown that living in poor quality accommodation has an impact on children’s bodies and physical development, including delayed rolling, crawling, walking, poor balance, coordination and motor skills.
This project will help to mitigate this by supporting the work of Louise Klarnett, a dance-and-movement-therapist, who works with young children to ‘unwind’ the detrimental impacts of growing up with no space to crawl, play, walk, or run. Louise, specialises in working with people facing challenging life circumstances including trauma, economic deprivation, health issues, and special educational needs and disabilities.
The Magpie Project’s weekly ‘Stay and Play’ session in Newham supports pre-school children and their mums in a multitude of ways. At these sessions Louise works with Magpie children to build their strength and coordination through dance, movement, props, physical touch, and mirroring. These are accessible, free drop-in sessions (10am-2pm) and are attended by 40-60 families each week.
For the last two years the Magpie Project has also distributed Clarks shoe vouchers for all walking-age children (1 year plus) so that parents can afford a pair of well-made and properly supportive shoes for small and developing feet. This grant will buy forty-pound shoe vouchers for 75 children whose parents cannot otherwise afford a pair of well-fitting shoes this winter.
The project will improve physical coordination, confidence, mobility and motor skills for 100, 0-5 year olds. The dance and movement sessions will both reduce developmental delay and increase opportunities for developmental concerns to be referred to appropriate health professionals. By providing properly fitted shoes, the project will improve children’s ability to explore physical movements outside the sessions and keep feet, warm, dry and supported.