As part of implementing the curriculum goals within the Early Years Learning Framework, staff in several children’s centres identified that providing opportunities for children to explore their creativity would contribute to their cognitive development and artistic literacy.
Through our joint discussions we explored the possibilities that art can offer children and pooled resources to employ two local professional artists to take the children on this journey of creating and exploring art. The project took place over eight weeks during August and September 2011 and involved workshops with children aged three to five years in four Council centres - Cook Parade, Gumbirra, Koala Corner and St Marys Children’s Centre, as well as North St Marys Community Preschool.
A variety of art media were explored from clay work to painting, wool sculpture, drawing and print making. Each child had the opportunity to make art pieces and in some instances take those pieces through a two stage process. For example many children were surprised that the clay became hard when it dried and enjoyed painting their creations to add colour to what they had made.
The artists encouraged the children to explore their creativity through different media.The children enjoyed the fun in this project and surprised us all with their enthusiasm, joy and willingness to explore new media in their creative expression. Many children looked forward to their mornings with the artists Chris Edwards and Fabri Blacklock, and David Cloran the photographer and the wonderful conversations about the art they created, highlighting the success of ARTKIDS.
The ARTKIDS project demonstrates to us that children can produce art that is real and has meaning for them. They are capable of great creativity and we hope to continue to inspire children in Penrith City to produce wonderful art for all to enjoy. The many works produced by the children were exhibited at St Marys Corner Community and Cultural Precinct, in individual children’s centres and at Penrith Library.