Museums & Galleries Qld

Anne Keam, Dogwood Crossing blogs from Toddler Tuesday QAG

Posted on: 11 November 2013


Photo taken by Anne Keam with permission

The first day of my mentorship was spent at the Queensland Art Gallery where I was able to access behind the scenes primarily to observe a Toddler Tuesday session.  At Dogwood Crossing Miles we have been running a Toddler Tuesday program ever since attending and being inspired by the Toddler Tuesday concept presented at the Art is for Everyone conference at the Queensland Art Gallery some years ago.  I have always harboured a desire to observe a session of Toddler Tuesday and take a dip into the Toddler Tuesday archives.

Caitlin Pijpers from Regional Services kindly set up a meeting with Tamsin Head of Educational Services who went through the planning process of a typical session with me from the selection of the artwork to be viewed, identifying the central idea or theme to be explored in the session to the culminating art activity.   Art works for the session are always chosen from a piece of the Gallery’s collection on display.  The central aim of Toddler Tuesday is not to dumb art down for children, and this is quite a challenge considering the wide age range (from 18 months to 4 years,) but to share art with children through stories and activities.  Staff believe that even if concepts might be considered to be over some children’s heads this is not a bad thing.  The concepts are being mediated through familiar listening, moving and looking activities in the company of their trusted adult.  Visiting these concepts is laying a foundation for children to effectively view and engage with artworks into the future.

A Toddler Tuesday session starts with a detailed plan that includes background information on the artwork which is given to the presenter who is to deliver the program.  Children and their parent/carer are greeted at the door of the Lecture Theatre and given their name tags.  Coming into the space they are engaged in conversation by the presenter until all have arrived.  A third staff member is present to operate audio visual equipment etc.  All staff members are available to assist children and parents with the art making activity.  The session I observed was fun and participatory exploring a small bronze statue of Krishna the butter thief. The central idea of the session was celebrations, working from the children’s experience of celebrations such as birthdays, to specific stories of celebrations in India where the statue was made.  It was explained to the children that the statue was small so that it could be easily carried to temples during celebrations.  Krishna was adorned with many pieces decorative jewellery and the culminating activity was the creation of a brightly coloured body adornment.  I came away from viewing Toddler Tuesday at the Queensland Art Gallery reinvigorated in my own passion to share art with children and their families so that engaging with art in a gallery setting is considered by them to be a natural and enriching experience in their lives. Thanks to all the Queensland Art Gallery staff who assisted and shared their expertise with me over the day.

M&GSQ’s 2013 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program is funded by Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a joint Queensland Government and Local Government partnership to support local arts and culture.

See M&GSQ’s website, for more information about the Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.


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Museums & Galleries Queensland

122 Gerler Rd, Hendra QLD 4011

Phone: 07 3059 9740

Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

Museums & Galleries Queensland promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places. We strive to ensure a future where museums, galleries and keeping places are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities.

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