Young Children, the Arts and Culture

By Jeff Meiners and Wendy Schiller.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

‘In the beginning’ investigated interactions between artists and preschool children. ‘Children’s Voices’ was a longitudinal research project exploring primary school children’s experiences of live performance over three years. Both projects provide insight into early participation in the arts as foundational cultural activity.
‘In the Beginning’ involved UniSA lecturers, early childhood education students, and new media students working with professional artists in childcare centres. Students observed and filmed children’s responses to artists in classroom contexts. Project resources are used by on-shore and transnational students learning about arts and children’s culture.
‘Children’s Voices’ documented the impact of live performance upon 140 children from four diverse school cultures. Methodology included tracking children’s various responses to performance using interviews, case studies and teachers’ journals. Teacher interviews assessed the impact of performance on their classroom practice, professional and personal development. Focus groups with parents and school leaders clarified the impact of live arts on school communities.
Parents, teachers, students and artists have been challenged by children’s enthusiasm to embark upon arts projects which further their understanding of individual identity and the complex world around them. As dynamic producers of their own culture, children’s meaning-making included the arts to address genuine concerns and resolve problems. The paper concludes by considering how close scrutiny of children’s responses reveals the arts’ potential to foster positive dispositions for shared cultural diversity.

Keywords: Arts and Culture, Industry/Education Partnerships, Children’s Voice

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.5-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 502.550KB).

Jeff Meiners

University of South Australia, Australia

Jeff is a lecturer in the School of Education at the University of South Australia. He has worked in Australia, England, Papua New Guinea, Portugal and Singapore with all age groups in movement, arts and dance education. Jeff is a member of the Australia Council’s Dance Board. He has been nominated twice for an Australian Dance Award.

Prof. Wendy Schiller

University of South Australia, Australia

Wendy Schiller is Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of South Australia. Recognised as an international expert in early childhood education she has a breadth of experience as an author, teacher, speaker and researcher of young children and their families and has worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and South Africa with indigenous families. She has led research and teaching projects for AusAID, UNESCO, Bernard van Leer Foundation and the Australian Sports Commission. Wendy has published 11 books, 25 book chapters and over 40 journal articles. In 2003, Wendy was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to early childhood education.


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