Preschool children, painting and palimpsest: collaboration as pedagogy, practice and learning

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Cutcher, A & Boyd, W in press, 'Preschool children, painting and palimpsest: collaboration as pedagogy, practice and learning', The International Journal of Art and Design Education.

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This article describes a small, collaborative, arts-based research project conducted in two rural early childhood centres in regional Australia, where the children made large-scale collaborative paintings in partnership with teachers and researchers. Observation of young children's artistic practices, in order to inform the development of pre-service curriculum and pedagogy was a central aim of the project. The findings are framed with respect to pedagogy, practice and learning: the pedagogy that supports children's artmaking; the benefits of learning in and through the arts, and the notion of collective practice in early childhood settings. Findings suggest that collaborative and intergenerational artmaking in early childhood settings enable powerful learning opportunities. A combination of establishing a rich art environment, applying constraints, yet allowing for children's agency can create a rich and engaging art education, which is vital in any setting if children are to develop their aesthetic awareness, artistic skills, and critical, abstract, imaginative, collaborative and creative thinking. The role of the proactive art educator in children's development is crucial, which has implications for teacher preparation and in-service professional development. These project findings also have implications for ecologies of learning and communities of practice from early childhood to higher education.

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