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  • Creative Connections in the Early Years


In 2014, Creative Connections in the Early Years engaged film-maker Andy Del Vecchio to produce a video showcasing the Art About Us project, which places an artist in 3 Child and Family Centres.

The final video highlights the value of providing creative opportinities for children, in this case through working with professional artists in a dedicated early years setting.

Click here to access the video.


Children need the arts as much as they need fresh air. Otherwise they perish on the inside.  - Philip Pullman, author and illustrator


Bringing Artists and Artistic Meaning Making into the Early Years Settings

A Round-table seminar

Wednesday 27 August 2014,   4.30 – 6.30 pm

Board Room, Arts Tasmania, 146 Elizabeth St Hobart

For artists whose practice includes or considers working with young children (aged 0 to 6)

This seminar considers the role of the artist in supporting artistic meaning making with young children and inspires expanded professional understandings and pathways for future practice.   Practical strategies and solutions to challenges in settings with young children will be discussed.  This interactive seminar will include an overview of a wide range of artistic backgrounds and practices including, print making, sculpture, glass, graffiti, music and dance.

Further information can be found here


It is well-known that the early years of life are a critical time for childhood development and wellbeing.  What is also becoming better understood is that when children engage in creative activities, their physical and sensory development is stimulated in a variety of ways, which is vital for brain development.

Opportunity for artists - February 2014

As a part of this initiative, we are pleased to be delivering the Art about Us program that will enable artists to work closely with communities in Tasmania over 2013 and 2014.   The Art about Us program is funded through grants from the Australian Early Development Index and the Tasmanian Community Fund.

The Program - 2014

The Art about Us program aims to work with communities through participation in an arts program led by an artist.  This program aims to:  

  • enhance the wellbeing and development of children through participation  in creative activities
  • develop confidence and ideas for parents to  engage creatively with their children
  • extend the skills, knowledge and confidence of early years practitioners around facilitating meaningful creative experiences for young children.

Each program will be based within selected Child and Family Centres (CFC) that will provide support and venue for the program.  Staff at the Centre will work closely with the artist.  The program will support an artist residency of 20 days.  This could provide 2 blocks of 8 weeks, with an artist undertaking activities equivalent to one day per week.  An additional 2 days each block is available for preparation, planning and evaluation. 

The programs have 4 important components:

1.   Engaging with community members and children to develop a program that meets local interests.

2.   Hands-on creative experiences, led by the artist in any artform (eg visual art activities, dance, drama, music, singing etc).

3.   Participatory workshops for parents/caregivers with practical ideas to support artmaking and creative interaction between parent and child, and encourage creative experiences at home.  

4.   Development opportunities for staff at the Centre and associated organisations, to build capacity and understanding, to embed creative activities and practices within each community.

Available documents:


Information and EOI Form

Create, Connect, Empower: 2nd Creative Connections in the Early Years statewide forum

17 & 18 May 2013, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart


Presentations now available:

Wide Open Window - Sue Giles (Polyglot Theatre)

Raising the Bar: in search of quality in cultural programs for children and families - Dr Barbara Piscitelli (transcript)

Pecha Kucha 1 (edited)

Pecha Kucha 2 (edited)

Curious Schools website

Dance: Being in the Space - Jay Watson

Painting: A Painting Verse - from Mary-Jean Wilson's workshop

Billy - Creature Tales (videos)

Click on the links for the project documentation to date: 

first phase final report (June 2012)

action plan (attachment A)

results of the online survey (attachment B) 

evaluation of the trial programs (appendix C)

report on the Statewide forum held in March 2012 in Launceston (appendix D)


Young Children, the Arts and Creativity - Statewide Forum, 2nd & 3rd March 2012   Tailrace Centre, Launceston

The Creative Connections in the Early Years Project, with the support of the University of Tasmania, School of Education, hosted a 2-day forum around best practice arts engagement with children in their early years (0 to 6 years) and their families.

A copy of the program is available here.  

Presentations available to date are listed below, including audio for the keynote presentations from Friday 2 March. 

Conditions for Engagement and Creative Learning - Simon Spain & Robert Brown, ArtPlay

Audio recording

Welcome (Dr Sue Jenkins) & Conditions for Engagement and Creative Learning - part 1

Conditions for Engagement and Creative Learning - part 2

handouts Exploring Engagement at ArtPlay; Preschool Jamming

Teachers as Interlocutors: giving voice to children - Professor Susan Wright, University of Melbourne

Audio recording

Teachers as Interlocutors - part 1

Teachers as Interlocutors - part 2

pecha kucha - session 1

Kids Allowed in Kingborough - child friendly places poster

pecha kucha - session 2

The Arts and Young Children: more than playing around - Di Nailon/Sherridan Emery, University of Tasmania

handoutsdevelopment stages of early drawing; arts elements; Montessori art educationreflections Reggio Emilia art education; overview of Steiner and art education                

Dance: Being in the Space - Jay Watson

Art from plastics: examples of art; working with plastics - making a differenceplaying safe with plastics - Liz Russell-Arnot

Young Children and Song workshop notes; why offer songs? - Melinda Risby

The arts and very young children

Creative Connections is based on the crucial role that the early years of life (from 0 to 6 years) play for human development and wellbeing. When children engage in arts activities, their physical and sensory development is stimulated in a variety of ways. These experiences enable exploration, experimentation and communication. This is vital for brain development, as well as a child’s growing understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Linking with artists and arts educators can bring quality art experiences, skill development and opportunities for interaction with, and modelling of, their art making.

The Creative Connections project will

  • Bring together and document current learning and resources about the role of the arts, creativity and children in their early years.
  • Raise awareness about its importance through workshops, forums and information.
  • Investigate how we can build capacity and confidence of parents / carers, Early Years practitioners and artists to provide creative experiences for children. We will trial two programs.
  • Develop ways of working together through networks between early years practitioners, parents, arts and community sectors.

How you can be involved

We are keen to listen to your ideas about what is being done and what is needed.

  • Get in contact if you have been involved in programs engaging young children in creative arts experiences to tell us about it.
  • Join our database for more information.


Leigh Tesch, Project consultant
0419 104 961


The project's 2nd phase is supported by: