Transcript of Creative arts in the early years

Jacqui Ward – Early Learning Coordinator, Department of Education

Julia Brennan – K-6 Creative Arts Advisor, Department of Education

Dr Gai Lindsay – Lecturer, University of Wollongong

[upbeat music]

Jacqui Ward

Welcome to another Early Learning Matters podcast, and we've also got a combined podcast today with the Chatting Creative Arts team. So, this podcast is focused in on creative arts in the early years, and that's talking about the importance of creative arts in the early years, including early childhood in the first years of school. My name is Jacqui Ward. I'm the Early Learning coordinator at the Department of Education, and I'm joined by my colleagues, Julia and Gai. I'll leave it to you to introduce yourselves.

Julia Brennan

Hi, my name is Julia Brennan. I'm the K-6 Creative Arts advisor for our Department of Education in New South Wales and today I'm with Doctor Gai Lindsay who's a lecturer in the early years degree at the University of Wollongong. Her PhD thesis explored the visual arts beliefs and pedagogy of early childhood educators. Welcome Gai.

Gai Lindsay

Thank you, it’s great to be here.

Julia Brennan

Would you like to tell us a bit more about your research Gai?

Gai Lindsay

Yes absolutely. So, I guess the background of my story is that I taught preschool for more than 20 years and I was a preschool teacher and director. I had been trained in both primary and early childhood, but my whole career had been in the early childhood space, mainly in New South Wales, but a little time in Western Australia as well. I guess what led me into doing my research, it wasn't something I'd ever had an ambition to do, I hadn't thought I would ever be a university lecturer.

But I'm somebody who has a passion for the arts in early childhood pedagogy, but again and again I used to see examples of practice that made me ask lots of questions. I used to see educators saying the arts were really important, but at the same time putting up lots of identical stencil type activities on the wall in the name of art. And I guess that career experience, my professional experience, was what opened the door to doing research because I just really felt frustrated that while educators were saying the arts were important, it wasn't playing out in what I saw in practice. I’d so often hear my colleagues and other teachers and early childhood educators saying all but I'm not the creative one, I'm not the artistic one on our team and therefore people were floundering a bit.

So, I talked to a colleague at the University of Wollongong and said what can we do about this? Obviously, there's some sort of a glitch, and so that's what's really opened the door for me. Initially it was a masters by research, because again I hadn't pictured myself doing a doctorate. So, I started that and then the findings just really showed that this was an area that needed further exploration and deeper exploration. So it led into me doing a PhD while I taught at the uni, and then now I'm in a full time position as a lecturer in the early years team. So yeah, it's been an interesting and very unexpected journey for me.

Julia Brennan

Wow, thank you, Gai for sharing that with us. It's amazing and very inspiring.

So, we've heard a lot about the last, the most recent parts of your career, but how did your arts education journey start before that?

Gai Lindsay

Well, I guess like all of us, it starts when we're very young with whatever experiences we have in early childhood. I actually do remember my very first experience. I went to one of the first preschools in Toowoomba where I grew up a place called Little Glen. I remember it was in a big old Queenslander house. I don't remember much else about it except for this room where I got to go and do finger painting. So that's a really early memory for me and I guess throughout my primary and high school education, I was always drawn to the arts, both visual arts particularly, but also music. I've always played keyboard and flute and been a singer and been in choirs. But certainly with the visual arts it was just a language that I wanted to speak and that I wanted to learn better and communicate with and play with.

And so for me, that desire to communicate through visual tools and methods was sort of ingrained in me from early childhood. Not that anyone in my family practiced any visual arts so that wasn't an influence. But it was just something I was always drawn to and when I was making art, or enjoying the arts, or going to an art gallery, it just took me to a place that was fulfilling and peaceful and what Csikszentmihalyi calls being in the zone; that flow theory idea of just being in the right place and doing what I was meant to be doing. So no, I haven't had any formal arts training apart from what I did in high school. But then self-taught since then really, doing online courses and different experiences, and I guess just not being afraid to play with materials and try them out and experiment with them, which is what we want for children I think.

Jacqui Ward

Absolutely, that's great. Thanks Gai. I've had the privilege to listen to you speak a few times and find what you say inspirational and am interested to hear about your research. I guess you've covered a little bit there about what it has meant to you personally, but I'd be really interested to see how the arts have influenced your life professionally. Because I know you talk about engaging with the arts and the work that you did as a teacher with children right through to your PhD. Would you like to share a bit of information about that?

Gai Lindsay

Yes. So professionally, I think this connection of the arts to education, it's been incredibly fulfilling to do some deeper thinking about that and to draw upon some of the foundational theorists in this space. Going back as far as Froebel and Rousseau, who talked about learning by doing, and then, coming into John Dewey’s work, learning through play, and that play-based holistic curriculum where the arts are at the centre of everything. I love Elliot Eisner’s work, in terms of the way he said that the arts should be more centralised in our education systems, he really drew upon Dewey’s work in a lot of his thinking.

So that idea of going more deeply into why the arts are important for us has really driven a lot of my motivation in this space. And certainly looking at the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been extremely inspiring for me, because when you look at that, and you hear that learning, that connecting to your cultural and your artistic life is considered to be a human right, that all of us should be experiencing and that all education systems should be honouring and upholding. That is my biggest motivator. To think that too many children go through the schooling system and become adults; like the students who come to me at university, saying that they're not confident with the arts languages, that they don't see themselves as having the capacity to communicate through the arts. And I just think that's a travesty that we have to do something about because artistic expression and experience; that human drive to communicate in multiple ways, isn't limited to literacy. It's not limited to reading, writing, and what we say with our mouths. It's actually an experiencing. Engaging with the arts is that beautiful human experience that nobody should miss out on and I think the world is much poorer when the human beings on this planet are so narrowed in their thinking, instead of expanded and arts centred. I'm probably waffling on, I get a bit excited about advocating for our rights to be whole people, not part people.

Jacqui Ward

Yeah, that sounds amazing.

Gai Lindsay

People grow up to be part of people who yearn for the arts. People yearn for the arts. I mean, you look at what's going on in lockdown, during this pandemic. And when people are shut down, they gravitate to the arts and ironically, it's the artists in our communities who are being so poorly cared for at this time and yet they're the ones we're tuning in to watch the movies they make and their music and their visual arts work which is just proliferated throughout the pandemic internationally. People are reconnecting with their love of crafts and their love of making. I think that's one positive maybe that's come out of the pandemic.

Julia Brennan

And you think too with those early images of that first lockdown in Italy last year and what were people doing? Going onto their balconies to sing to each other.

Gai Lindsay

Yeah, exactly and it's that yearning in that that spiritual connection to what we're meant to be; that the arts really foster. That yearning inside us to be more than literal; to be imaginative and to be creative and to live out our full potential as human beings. And I think in our education systems that's something we have to keep fighting for because testing regimes and all of that sort of thing put so much emphasis on preparing for tests and performance in the classroom and so on, instead of remembering that education, for me, is about preparation for life; and that if we're thinking about how do we prepare and foster children's capacity to become whole human beings and thinking, contributing citizens, then the arts should be central to that because the arts welcome critical thinking and reflective practice and creative solutions to problems.

Julia Brennan

And collaboration.

Gai Lindsay

Yeah, yeah. And new ways of looking at things and just playing with ideas instead of feeling like we have to have all the answers or that we have to get the right answer. The arts embrace a notion of exploration and inquiry and play, and I think that's what we need to really be fostering. And that's why I position the arts the way I do. It's not art for art's sake, but it's art as the channel by which we explore our humanity and where we belong in the world and what our theories are of the world. And that's no less true for children and as the adults in children's lives, we have to be facilitating that. We can't assume it's just going to happen by magic.

Julia Brennan

Gai, you've kind of answered my next question, which is what you think the power of visual arts are? So, I think we might just sort of combine the next two questions because the one after that was why are the arts so important for young children?

Gai Lindsay

Well, where do you begin? I mean, there's lots of research evidence that highlights the benefits that exist when children are engaging in arts experiences. I mean, some of the literature says things like, some of the benefits of the arts are; cross disciplinary learning, Elliot Eisner wrote a lot about that, in Australia, Felicity McArdle has written a lot about that. Carlina Rinaldi in Italy has done a lot of work around that idea of cross disciplinary learning. Children can get - the research backs this up to this isn't just my opinion, so this is children gain motivation, enjoyment, critical thinking, problem solving, self-discipline, self-regulation, which we all know from recent research, is the number one quality that guarantees success at school, is the capacity to self-regulate and cope with frustration and all of that.

The arts foster positive attitudes to learning through creative learning experiences, through fostering and valuing children's imaginations. And don't we want to do that? Inspire children to want to learn, so that if we could teach science utilising drawing activities, if we could learn mathematics through music, then I think we'd see a whole lot of children much more switched on to learning than the really didactic, narrow focused learning in silos that unfortunately can happen.

I think it's also important to remember researchers like Dewey and like Robin Ewing, and like Elliot Eisner, who said that the arts foster aesthetic appreciation, awareness of beauty and that delight in appreciating that all-encompassing feeling you get when you listen to an amazing piece of music or lose yourself in an art making process. But it's also about children developing tools for communication and meaning-making, and Eisner also talked about this idea of developing skills for children to navigate a globalised world. So, they say that the jobs children will have in 30 years’ time; we don't know what those jobs are, so we can't actually prepare them for the future, but what we can do is support them to be creative thinkers and problem solvers and persistent and to tackle problems in different creative ways.

But what I found when I was doing my literature searches for my research is that all of those benefits that I just listed and that are talked about by numerous scholars, Anne Bamford actually said that in her review of all of the literature, she said that those benefits only come about for children when effective and quality provisions are made by the teachers who are working with them. And for me that really impacted the way I was thinking about my work and now my work preparing the next generation of early childhood teachers. It's not enough to put out some activities on a table and think that you're going to achieve all of those benefits for children. The teacher, the adult who is making the curriculum decisions, they are the number one key ingredient to where their children are going to get all of those benefits that can come from the arts. And that was certainly at the centre of my PhD research. I really was focusing on what are the beliefs and choices that the teachers were making that drove their pedagogy or that informed their pedagogy and yes, it was interesting, we found some interesting things.

Jacqui Ward

You’ve said some amazing things there Gai, lots of different things that I would love to comment on, but I'm going to move on to our next question there, which is just thinking about, so we've talked about the pedagogy there, could we bring it around to the curriculum and let's sort of unpack a bit about the misunderstandings about the place of the arts in both the Early Years Learning Framework and in the curriculum in early stage one in schools or beyond. What are your thoughts and would you like to discuss a little bit more about the way the arts are framed in those spaces?

Gai Lindsay

Yes, sure. I mean obviously in the Early Years Learning Framework one would assume that it would have the arts at the core of it and yet the arts are not really mentioned terribly much in the Early Years Learning Framework. Hopefully that might be something that is addressed a bit more in the review that’s happening now. But essentially, when you look at the Early Years Learning Framework, those visual and creative languages are sort of embedded within notions like communication and children's identity, confidence. Multiple intelligences are mentioned fleetingly, but there's actually no specific guidance for educators, and I'm talking about visual arts here, because that's what I really analysed. But in speaking with colleagues doing research in the music space, there are similar issues around the lack of specificity in the Early Years Learning Framework around what to teach.

That's where the ACARA curriculum is actually quite helpful and I often direct my early years students to have a look at that, because at the very least, it's outlining some of the possibilities around the different visual arts domains. It's spelling out what you might do with drawing, with painting, with clay, and so on. And so, I think the issue around our Early Years Learning Framework, and even to an extent that the curriculum for the primary years, is that if there isn't specific support and guidance around what quality visual arts pedagogy might look like, then educators who lack that knowledge are falling back on their own assumptions or their own individual beliefs. And in fact, the educator’s guide highlights that. In the educator’s guide for the EYLF it says that without a guiding framework or some clear ideas about what quality visual arts pedagogy could and should look like then educator’s individual images, beliefs and values about children and what they should be and what they should become; that's what's actually influencing the planned and the unplanned curriculum.

And the problem with that, as I see it, is that then children's experiences will vary from teacher to teacher depending upon the confidence of the teacher. But also, the capacity of the teacher to interpret the curriculum documents and see where the arts actually sit, or where they would fit under the banner of communication. So, if you don't have arts knowledge, then you might read that section of the framework that talks about strategies to support children's communication and only be thinking about verbal and auditory communication rather than visual communication or musical communication or communicating through dance. So, we don't know what we don't think about. We don't dwell or we don't plan for something that we aren't aware of and that certainly did come through in my research with my participants. A lot of them said they knew the arts were important, but very few of them could articulate the specifics about what they had learned at uni or in their vocational training for example. So it was all very broad and not specific enough, and I think that's the risk, is that without that specific domain knowledge, that subject content knowledge or pedagogical content knowledge, as Schulman called it, then we’re sort of operating in a vacuum, and what my research suggests is if people have very little memory of their of their coursework at university or in their vocational training, then when they're looking for something to implement in the curriculum, they'll go to what feels safe. And for a lot of people what feels safe is found on Pinterest, and I'm not an enemy of, I don't hate Pinterest, it serves some great purposes for collecting ideas and sharing and disseminating what can be great ideas sometimes.

But, if educators don't have the capacity to evaluate the quality of an experience, because of what they know about how children learn, because of what they know about the visual arts, methods and techniques, for example, then they'll go to what feels safe because people want a formula. They want to know, they want to feel like they're doing the right thing by children, they want to keep children busy and happy, and they want to create items that the parents will like and all of those sorts of traps that that we fall into if we're not confident in our own pedagogy. Does that answer? I'm sort of waffling again, but it’s complex.

Julia Brennan

I think that's really good and it actually is a beautiful segue into where we were hoping to take the conversation next, which is the difference between a learning experience and an activity. So busy work, as you have just identified and also that idea of the mass production of identical artworks that we have all seen and then we get into the process versus product debate, there's so many little things in there. But I think even coming back to that first point about your Pinterest teaching, and I mean I've got friends who are high school visual arts teachers and they tell me exactly the same thing is happening there too. So, let's talk about the difference between a learning experience and an activity.

Gai Lindsay

Yeah, so for me, and I've got to credit my wonderful colleague in Ireland, Evelyn Egan, who has some great resources online, if you want to hunt for her as well. Evelyn and I have had numerous conversations over the years about this difference between an experience and an activity, and certainly John Dewey talked about the difference way back in the 1940s and 50s. So, he talked about art as an experience, which sort of goes back to what we were saying before about that holistic approach to the arts, where the arts is, well, what I call it is the arts are the glue that should hold the curriculum together, that we should be integrating right across the curriculum.

So, from my research, what I really came to the conclusion of, was that art as an activity is certainly something that happens in early childhood centres and in schools. But what that looks like, for me, is those one-off activities, so it's getting the idea off the internet it's preparing all the materials, often huge labour job for the educators, because you're getting all the bits of paper ready and you're making the template, the thing that the children will copy or the example for them to follow, and it has a beginning and an end. It's often very product focused and it often isn't being built upon what the children already know, the skills they might already have or their interests.

And so when Dewey talked about art as an experience he was talking about that idea, and we certainly see examples of this in quality centres, and I'm a bit of a student of the Reggio Emelia approach, and so their approach to utilising the arts as a language sort of draws upon this idea that it's not a one-off experience. We're building, we’re scaffolding, we’re actually basing our experiences on what children have shown an interest in and then we're extending and expanding that. And I love what Dewey, in his very quaint old American style of writing... I mean, he's appalling to read really, because he's a bit like me he waffles on and on, and you fight to get to the point.

But anyway, he sort of likened those one-off activity type experiences being like food that is not nutritious. So, he didn't actually use the word junk food. I've sort of adapted what he said, but if we're thinking about that, well children love junk food so children love these activities too. So, a lot of educators will justify, we all made a hungry caterpillar out of a piece of egg carton, and some pipe-cleaners and some googly eyes and stuck some crepe paper all over it right? And a lot of people will say, “oh but the children love it, they love it!” Well yes they do, but children don’t know what the alternative is if we don't expose them to the richness of that; and if we don't believe that they're capable of doing a drawing of a caterpillar, researching caterpillars, learning about caterpillars and exploring them through multiple arts methods, on multiple occasions. And so, I love what Dewey challenges us to think about. That material relationships, relationships with the materials and tools that we use when we're making art should never be a one-off thing. hat's like saying I'm going to learn French this Friday afternoon. And then I'm going to learn a bit of Chinese next Friday afternoon. It'll be fun! And then the week after that we'll do a bit of Spanish. How do we expect anyone to develop fluency in a language that has such great value for children, if we're just dipping in and out of these transient, meaningless, product-focused activities that don't even empower the child as an artist? That don't even teach them skills and techniques that can sustain them across numerous experiences?

So, I like to think about developing relationships with materials and you don't develop relationships unless you spent time experimenting to start with, getting to know the material, what language does it speak? What marks does it make? What happens if I do this? What happens if I use it, use this charcoal on cardboard instead of paper etc etc. So when people are sort of saying... Oh, I get really frustrated on social media, because I don't know about the primary school teachers listening, but the early childhood teachers will hear what I'm saying. Because there's some social media groups where people will jump on and ask advice. You often hear people jump on and go “ladies”, to which I want to reply there are men in early childhood too let's be respectful in our language. But the, “Ladies, it's Father's Day coming up,” I saw one of them this morning, “Father's Day is coming up, has anyone got any ideas of what we can do?” And I think people are hungry for ideas, which is so ironic because I could use charcoal with a group of children for three months straight and they wouldn't get bored. Because it'd be developing that relationship with the material and meaningfully exploring the kinds of marks you can make and how you might extend that and expand upon that. And I know in my teaching experience with young children, I just never found they ever got bored.

Jacqui Ward

I think you raise some really good points there Gai, and for me that comes down to a disconnect between even the way we refer to those names then activity-based learning experience, and when you think about it as a learning experience, you're going to think about it in a different way as opposed to an activity to do for Father's Day or whatever it might be. So, thank you for that great exploration on those ideas and concepts. I hope we've inspired lots of educators to think a little bit differently I guess about the way they plan experiences and the way they reflect on the learning that is encompassed within those ideas.

So, moving back to, I guess, now that knowledge of self and you talked about the importance of educator identity, confidence, knowledge and self-efficacy for the arts, that concept knowing what to teach and how to teach it, I think is fundamental across a lot of areas that we talk about. Can you tell us a little bit more about why you think this is so important?

Gai Lindsay

Yes. So, self-efficacy is a concept, like you said, it's that idea of knowing what to teach and how to teach it. But self-efficacy refers to the confidence of the educator to be able to take what they know and translate it into the curriculum that they offer to children. And for me, I sort of intrinsically felt, when I saw all of those issues happening in my practice as an early childhood teacher and director, when I kept hearing people say I'm not artistic, I'm not the artistic one but, but, but, but. I really felt that the core of that was educator confidence with the arts, and that disconnect that had happened for them in their early childhood or in their schooling experience.

And that played out when I was interviewing my participants, I asked them to remember their early childhood experience of art, their primary school experience and their high school experience. And without exception really, every participant could remember a moment in time when their self-belief stopped. Now for a lot of people in terms of the development of drawing, we know that at about the age of eight or nine is when children really start valuing hyper realism; and that's when a lot of people really start judging themselves. It’s quite interesting that it's capacity to draw something like a photograph that we in the west at any rate, my participants as an example of that, seemed to sort of decide that therefore I'm not artistic because I can't draw things that look like. It's either when you're sitting next to Susie who draws horses and you think they’re fantastic, probably if you look back on it she's just learned how to draw the schema of a horse and it doesn't actually look like a horse, but we thought it did, and so we judged ourselves; and find that really interesting with the arts that people are so judgmental of themselves. And so rather than feel inadequate, a lot of people the just disregard the arts and go, oh well, I'm not artistic, or well I can't write my name when I'm three, so therefore I’m not going to ever be literate. Felicity McArdle talks about that in a really great little article called, ‘What if?’, ‘What if art was a language?’ or something like that. Yeah, so can you go back to the question because I think I've done my waffling thing again?

Jacqui Ward

I think you've handled it. We can probably move on to the next one.

Julia Brennan

Gai, that was magnificent and it actually just reminded me so much of we see dramatic play exactly the same thing, it stops. We see singing, I mean I just watch my 3 year-old neighbour out in the driveway singing to himself and I know that in a couple of years time that's going to stop and that judgment sets in

Gai Lindsay

It’s sad.

Julia Brennan

And I live with a professional musician who's whole life is built around that never good enough type of thing. I always have to be better. It's just an amazing field isn't it for that?

Gai Lindsay

Yeah, and the striving is good.

Julia Brennan

Striving for excellence, yeah.

Gai Lindsay

We don't want to say that we want people to be fatalistic and say well if I can't paint like the people who enter the Archibalds, then I can't be an artist. And that's what I talk to my students at uni about actually, is that idea between being a big A artist, an artist who's making their living out of the arts or entering competitions and hanging their work on gallery walls. But I like to translate it back to that idea of, well, we can all be little A artists in the same way Cziksentmihalyi talked about being a big C creative. The Einstein's, the Picasso’s of the world. But we can all be little C creatives, we can all play, we can all experiment, we can all wonder. We can all try something new.

And with my students at uni, I actually do teach them to draw, ironically, because I find that that's the key for a lot of people, that when they actually get taught lo and behold, and can actually reproduce something that they're observing, and they can reproduce those lines just by learning how to look really and learning how to sort of make that connection between the eyes and the right-hand side of the brain and the drawing implement; that sort of unlocks something for a lot of my preservice teachers, and all of a sudden they go “what? In one hour, you taught me something that I never thought I could do. Therefore, this is something that I can learn.” And so I guess I'd really encourage all of the listeners, anyone who's got a yearning for the arts, reconnect with whatever you yearn to do, because there's so much available in this world that we live in now. More so now that anything you want to learn, you can search for it on YouTube.

So don't disregard your own capacity to be a little A artist. Even if you never envisage being a big A artist. I just think enrich your own life first and you will enrich the lives of children. And I don't think children's lives will be enriched unless they're seeing the adults in their lives embracing the importance of the arts personally as well as professionally.

Julia Brennan

I actually really love that Gai, because I've often used the big C and the little C creative but never the big A and little A artist. So I'm going to going to steal that if that's alright.

Gai Lindsay

Go for it. Give me credit, that's all good.

Jacqui Ward

I really liked the idea too of there being a disconnect between skills and just ability. Like it's odd that we think that isn't it? You made such a good point there about writing. It's same thing, you need some skills, don't you?

Gai Lindsay

Yeah, yeah. And like if we think about teaching children to learn to read, what does the adult do in that situation? Ok, they're teaching specific sounds. They are showing how those sounds joined together. They're making the connection between what spoken and what's written. They’re modelling. They’re reading to children. They’re demonstrating. They’re sometimes even saying stop, try that again. Let me show you how this might work in a different way. And yet with the arts, there's been this post-war idea of not interfering with children's art-making.

So, Lowenfeld and Read, two theorists who were working around about the time of the Second World War, they were really positioning art-making for children as a therapeutic post-war expression of trauma. And so, part of their thinking was to say, well, don't interfere, don't intervene, don't talk to the children or instruct them in anything to do with the arts, or you'll sort of corrupt their natural expression and creativity. And that myth, look it's true in a sense, in a therapeutic sense, it's true that there can be benefit in the adult not intervening if art is being used as a therapy.

But art isn't only therapeutic, art is so much more than that and if we're saying children have a right to learn this language of the arts, then it's our responsibility to actually support them to do that. And so, this idea of not interfering seems to have hung on in our practice. It doesn't apply in any of the other ways we teach young children where we co-construct, model, demonstrate, scaffold the learning etc etc. And yet with arts people go oh you're either born artistic or you're not, and it's not the adults place to demonstrate or model, it might corrupt the child's creativity. I actually think that abdication of the role of the teacher happens because of that lack of self-efficacy. I think it lets people off the hook. Because everyone wants to do the right thing. Everyone doesn't want to corrupt a child’s natural creativity and yet ironically, the lack of involvement by the educator can just do that. It can actually achieve the opposite of what they're trying to achieve, by refusing to teach. So, it's really…

Julia Brennan

It’s a delicate balance.

Gai Lindsay

It’s a balance, definitely.

Jacqui Ward

Now I'm going to say that we should draw it to an end, because I think we've been chatting for ages and I don't know about you Julia, but I could be in this conversation all day long.

Julia Brennan

Yeah absolutely.

Gai Lindsay

And, you know I could! Far out!

Jacqui Ward

I just think it's been amazing, Gai and Julia it's been really great to chat. I think we've covered off on some really interesting things. I hope it inspires and motivates people to think differently about the arts and yeah, I appreciate everyone's time.

Thank you for joining us and just should also offer you the opportunity to say anything else if you wanted to wrap up with any other statements either of you.

Gai Lindsay

I guess the one thing I would say and it definitely is something that was sort of a recommendation out of my PhD; is focus on your image of the child. Do you think they're capable? Because if you do, then they have a right to experience quality arts materials and quality arts processes from the moment of birth. You do it from the start, because it's that relationship with materials and think about your own identity. I think they're the two major keys. Visual arts knowledge can come because it's at your doorstep. You can find out anything you need to know about the language of art, but it's your own attitude and identity that will determine whether you give children that right to experience the arts in a really rich, quality way. That’s what I’d recommend. Rethink your image of the child and the image of the teacher.

Julia Brennan

Thank you so much Gai, that was really really inspiring and fantastic. I've learned so much and I've written down a whole page of things I've got to go and access now and research further. So thank you so much for your time today.

Gai Lindsay

My pleasure.

Jacqui Ward

Thanks, guys. Bye.

Julia Brennan

Bye.

Gai Lindsay

Bye.

[End of transcript]

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