Art in Early Childhood
University of Wollongong

Early Arts Intervention

Thinking about creativity and the domain of visual arts

Advisory Council

Dr Gai Lindsay

Lecturer, Coordinator of PPP and Flexible B.Ed - The Early Years School of Education / Faculty of Social Sciences / University of Wollongong, Australia

Gai Lindsay worked as a preschool teacher and director for 22 years before completing her PhD in visual arts and early childhood education at the University of Wollongong. She now lectures in the B.Ed – The Early Years at UOW. Gai’s research interests focus on early childhood visual arts education, John Dewey’s philosophy and the Reggio Emilia educational project. Gai has received many awards, including the IER NSW Best Applied Research Project (2014) and the Jean Denton Memorial Scholarship (2011).

Professor Ian Brown

Professor Ian Brown

(Honorary) University of Wollongong, NSW Australia

Ian Brown is currently a Fellow of the University of Wollongong and Honorary Professorial Fellow for the Faculty of Social Sciences. He has recently retired as Head of School at the University of Wollongong and the University of Technology Sydney. He has been awarded three Australian Research Council Grants and an active member of the International Visual Literacy Association.

Pete Moorhouse

Pete Moorhouse

Early Years Creative Consultant & Artist Educator, University of Bristol, UK

Pete Moorhouse is an early year creative consultant and artist educator. He is an honorary research fellow at the Graduate School of Education, the University of Bristol researching creative and critical thinking in Early Years. Pete is an associate trainer for Early Education and delivers training both nationally and overseas. His work in school is centered around developing children's creativity and his practice is inspired by Froebelian principles and practice in Reggio Emilia. Pete is the UK's leading authority on woodwork in Early Years education and has written several books and journal articles.

Why is this project necessary? A review of the literature.

The importance of the teacher

Bamford (2009) cautions that the range of benefits for children only exist when effective, quality provisions are made by educators. Omissions in the arts curriculum can be as significant as the provisions made for children and present the risk of a ‘null curriculum’ where students are denied opportunities for learning (Eisner, 2002). It is common for early childhood teachers and educators to express the belief that they are not personally artistic (Lindsay, 2015; 2016).

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The benefits of arts experiences

The importance and benefits of arts experiences in the early years are widely documented (Bamford, 2009; Ewing, 2010; Garvis, 2012a; Vecchi, 2010; Wright, 2012). Indeed, arts-based pedagogies are considered central to children’s learning in early childhood settings (Clark & de Lautour, 2009; Garvis, 2013; Kelly & Jurusich, 2010). 

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Transforming practice

In order to transform the quality of arts-based learning experience offered to children, it is necessary to shift the mindsets, attitudes and beliefs of early childhood educators (Lindsay, 2017b). McClure, Tarr, Thompson and Eckhoff (2017) also outline the need for early years educators to be intentional, sensitive and knowledgeable in order to implement quality visual arts interactions with children.

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Training Programs

Professional Development for Early Years Educators

Resources for early years educators and Art professionals

This section is accessible only to the members of the Early Arts Educational committees from all participating in the intervention Art galleries, nurseries & schools.

Materials and Resources

Further Readings

Articles & Links related to visual arts pedagogy in early childhood

References

Alter, F., Hays, T., & O’Hara, R. (2009). The Challenges of Implementing Primary Arts Education: What our teachers say. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(4), 22-30.

Baker, F. S. (2013). Shifting Sands in the United Arab Emirates: Effecting Conceptual Change for Creativity in Early Childhood Teacher Education. Teacher Development, 17(1), 72-91.

Baker, F. S. (2015a). Challenges presented to personal theories, beliefs and practices of play in Abu Dhabi kindergartens: the English Medium teacher perspective. Early Years: Journal of International Research & Development, 35(1), 22.

Baker, F. S. (2015b). Reflections on the Reggio Emilia Approach as Inspiration for Early Childhood Teacher Education in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Early Child Development and Care, 185(6), 982-995.

Baker, F. S. (2018). Shaping pedagogical approaches to learning through play: a pathway to enriching culture and heritage in Abu Dhabi kindergartens. Early Child Development & Care, 188(2), 109.

Bamford, A. (2009). The Wow Factor: Global research compendium on the impact of arts in education. New York: Waxmann Münster.

Christensen, L. M., & Kirkland, L. D. (2010). Early Childhood Visual Arts Curriculum: Freeing spaces to express developmental and cultural palettes of mind. Childhood Education, 87-91(2), 87.

Clark, B., & de Lautour, N. (2009). In early childhood education, should the adult’s role in the visual arts be hands-on or hands-off, or is there a role which is somewhere in-between or somewhere beyond? Scope, 4(1), 115-119.

Dewey, J. (1934). Art as Experience. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Eckhoff, A. (2012). Conversational pedagogy: Exploring interactions between a teaching artist and young learners during visual arts experiences. Early Childhood Education Journal, 1-8.

Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Eisner, E. (2003). The Arts and the Creation of Mind. Language Arts, 80(5), 340-340-344.

Ewing, R. (2010). The Arts and Australian Education: Realising Potential. Retrieved from Camberwell, VIC: http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1020&context=aer

Garvis, S. (2012a). The children aren’t creative: insights from beginning teachers on early childhood arts education. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(1), 161-165.

Garvis, S. (2012b). Exploring current arts practice in kindergartens and preparatory classrooms. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(4), 86-93.

Garvis, S. (2013). The Daily Use of the Arts in Early Years in Queensland, Australia. International Journal of Arts Education, 7(2), 47-54.

Ismail, S. A. A., & Jarrah, A. M. (2019). Exploring Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Pedagogical Preferences, Teaching Competence and Motivation. International Journal of Instruction, 12(1), 493-510.

Kelly, J., & Jurisich, G. (2010). Seeing things differently. Student teachers and the arts in early childhood settings. Early Childhood Folio, 14(2), 15-20.

Lindsay, G. (2015). ‘But I’m not artistic’: how teachers shape kids’ creative development. The Conversation, Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/but-im-not-artistic-how-teachers-shape-kids-creative-development-34650.

Lindsay, G. (2016). Do visual art experiences in early childhood settings foster educative growth or stagnation? International Art in Early Childhood Research Journal, 5(1), 1-14, Retrieved from http://artinearlychildhood.org/2016-research-journal-1/.

Lindsay, G. (2017a). Art is Experience: An Exploration of the Visual Arts Beliefs and Pedagogy of Australian Early Childhood Educators. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses1/170/

Lindsay, G. (2017, October, 2017). Let’s address low visual arts self-efficacy. Australian Teacher Magazine. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/3183/

Lummis, G. W., Morris, J., & Paolino, A. (2014). An Investigation of Western Australian Pre-Service Primary Teachers’ Experiences and Self-Efficacy in The Arts. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(5), 50-64.

McArdle, F. (2003). The Visual Arts: Ways of Seeing. In S. Wright (Ed.), Children, meaning-making and the arts (pp. 35-62). French’s Forest: Pearson Education Australia.

McArdle, F. (2005). What if…? Art as language in early childhood. Every Child, 11(2), 6-7.

McArdle, F. (2013). There’s more to art than meets the eye. In McArdle, F. & Boldt, G. (Eds.), Young children, pedagogy and the arts: Ways of seeing (pp. 187-209). New York: Routledge.

McClure, M., Tarr, P., Thompson, C. M., & Eckhoff, A. (2017). Defining quality in visual art education for young children: Building on the position statement of the Early Childhood Art Educators. Arts Education Policy Review, 118(3), 154-163. doi:10.1080/10632913.2016.1245167

Rinaldi, C. (2006). In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia. Listening, researching and learning. London: Routledge.

Shaban, M. S., & Al-Awidi, H. M. (2013). Understanding emirati children’s drawing in relation to self and identity through the interaction of social context. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 27(3), 330-350. doi:10.1080/02568543.2013.795508

Sowa, P. A., & De La Vega, E. (2008). One Corner at a Time: Collaborating for Educational Change in the UAE. Childhood Education, 85(2), 102. doi:10.1080/00094056.2009.10523072

Terreni, L. (2010). A history of visual art education in early childhood in New Zealand: Looking backwards to go forwards International Art in Early Childhood Research Journal, 2(1), 1-11.

Twigg, D., & Garvis, S. (2010). Exploring Art in Early Childhood Education. The International Journal of the Arts in Society, 5(2), 193-204.

UNICEF. (n.d.). United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 31. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/search/search.php?q=article%2031

Vecchi, V. (2010). Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia: Exploring the role and potential of ateliers in early childhood education. London: Routledge.

Wright, S. (2012). Children, meaning-making and the arts. French’s Forest, N.S.W: Pearson Australia.