International Voices of Children project supports young children’s voices to be heard
Local children from Bomaderry Community Preschool will have their creative talents on display at an international early childhood care and education conference this Friday (9 December 2022).
Bomaderry’s young artists are joining over 1500 other preschool children across 12 countries who have been involved in the first international Voices of Children project, an initiative to support young children’s voices to be heard and valued through the visual arts.
The project has resulted in two online galleries and a live gallery exhibition which will be held at the Hellenic Cosmos Foundation in Athens, to coincide with the 2022 Bright Start International Conference from 9 – 11 December.
University of Wollongong (UOW) Senior Lecturer Dr Gai Lindsay and Professor Ian Brown are the academic leads for the Voices of Children project. Dr Lindsay said the exhibition is an important way young children can have their voices heard.
“The important benefits of arts experiences in the early years are widely documented and art is central to a child’s learning in early childhood settings,” Dr Lindsay said.
“Though children may still have much to learn, they have already learned so much. They can teach us so much about fairness, equity, love and care.”
The Voices of Children project was established in 2004 by UOW researchers. The project originally explored the lives of children and young people in several different countries through the images they produce, using disposable cameras, as well as written responses to questions about themselves, their families and their worlds.
“This year is the first time we invited children aged from three to six years old to capture moments in time, highlight their creativity, share their art and tell the world what is special to them,” Dr Lindsay said.
“Young children wonder big things and think big things. Through their artworks and artist statements children can teach us how to treasure the things that really matter, if we care to listen.”
The artworks and messages in the 2022 exhibition reveal a diverse range of topics young children care about. Family topics were very popular with love for family, pets and toys common themes. However the Voices of Children project revealed that children aged from three to six years of age care about big issues too, with many artworks and artists statements focusing on the pandemic, war, environmental sustainability and how to make the world a kinder and more loving place.
The two other Australian centres included in the exhibition include KU Bradfield Park in West Lindfield, New South Wales; and P.L.A.Y with a Purpose in Murray Bridge, South Australia.
The 2022 Bright Start International Conference is an annual event that brings together early childhood care and education specialists to introduce best practices in early childhood development and equip participants with practical strategies and tools to enhance their knowledge and skills.
In 2022 Dr Lindsay will be presenting a workshop on drawing and ink-making and she’ll also discuss the next steps for the Voices of Children project in 2023.
“The conference is an important avenue to support educators by providing professional learning to early childhood education specialists,” Dr Lindsay said.
The 2022 Bright Start International Conference will be held from Friday 9 – Sunday 11 December in Athens, Greece. It will be hosted in a hybrid format, featuring in-person and online presentations.
Links to the Voices of Children online galleries
Online gallery for Argentina, Australia, Belgium, China, India, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and South Africa: https://assets.artplacer.com/virtual-exhibitions/?i=1550
Online gallery for Greece, Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Singapore: https://assets.artplacer.com/virtual-exhibitions/?i=6485
About the Bright Start Foundation
Bright Start Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland that is working towards improving early childhood care and education across the world.