The opportunity to volunteer at an event titled “Young Children, the Arts and Creativity State-wide Forum” was too good to refuse for several Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) students.
Held at the Tailrace Centre in Launceston, over two days in March, the event was promoted as “an exchange of conversation, presentations, workshops and art-making that focussed on the engagement of young children and their families”.
Keynote speakers included:
- Creative producer of Melbourne arts programs “ArtPlay” and “Signal” Simon Spain, which has involved more than 30,000 participants aged 3-13 years, and employed more than 50 national and international artists
- Dr Robert Brown, an arts and education lecturer at the University of Melbourne
- Professor Susan Wright internationally acclaimed author on children’s art and creativity, Chair of Arts education at the University of Melbourne.
Student volunteers found that the ideas introduced at the forum were practical and easy to implement and would help them as students and as Early Childhood educators.
They were also impressed with how connected they felt to the other forum participants; they were almost surprised to report that they felt like equals and felt connected to a broader early childhood and arts community.
“I felt like I was really valued as a volunteer for the skills I had in early childhood, and the way I participated in the workshops,” said Kerrie Hjort.
Inspired, engaged and with a greater feeling of connectedness, the volunteers are keen to be further involved in other Early Childhood events in Tasmania, and become leaders in their field.
Dr Karen Swabey, Deputy Head of School, Faculty of Education, presented the students with certificates of appreciation for their contribution to the forum.
The forum was a collaborative exercise supported by the UTAS School of Education. It was developed from a year-long project by the Tasmanian Early Years Foundation, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Detached, Sidney Myer Fund and Tasmanian Department of Education.
The event goals were to explore the barriers and supports in art and creativity and to present practical ideas around how to effectively engage both young children and their families.
Image: (left to right) six of the nine volunteers: Lollita Stratton, Angela Webb, Kristen Jones, Simone Griggs, Kerrie Hjort and Carmel Post.