Art education in early childhood

Traditionally, art education in early childhood is geared towards children below school-age, in Finland children under seven years of age, who are in municipal or private day care or at preschool. Some cities and communities have drawn up a cultural early education plan where experiencing and taking part of art and culture are included in the various subdomains of early education before school-age. Kindergartens have appointed culture coordinators with the task of motivating early education staff in implementing cultural education. The cultural centres for children support early education actors to systematically develop cultural education. All around Finland, the cultural centres for children carry out art education together with various cooperation partners, both as separate workshops and as long-term entities.

The strengthening of cultural activities for babies since the turn of the millennium has increased the forms of activities and cooperation models in order to support the well-being of children and families. Children’s culture actors cooperate actively with child health clinics, for instance. The child health clinic is a free-of-charge welfare service which monitors children’s growth, health and well-being up to their school-age. In Finland, health clinics serve pregnant women, expecting families and children below school-age as well as their families.

In the Kultane advice centre, arts and culture go hand in hand with the development and growth of the child and offers support for the whole family from pregnancy until pre-school health checks. Kultane combines culture, art and pre-natal work to create a new kind of pre-natal concept. Photo by Päivi Setälä

At the Äänimaalaamo (sound paint shop) workshop, in an atmospherically lit room, the sound landscape is slowly built by the participants who, each in turn, bring their own colour into the sound landscape. The sound paint shop concept was developed by Seinäjoki children’s cultural centre Louhimo. Photo by Eetu Kevarinmäki

The TAIKAVA project (art educators in early childhood education) was a project for the development of early childhood education and cultural services in Vantaa. In a two-year experiment, ten kindergartens hired art pedagogues, bringing new kinds of methods to support children’s growth, development and learning. Photo by Ilona Ollikkala