Understanding and making art: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in early childhood settings


Price $38.50
Subscription Get this module as a part of an annual subscription.


National Quality Standard
QA1Educational program and practice
QA6Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
2Know the content and how to teach it


Jo Krabman
Jo Krabman is an experienced early childhood teacher and director currently working as an early childhood educator and TAFE teacher in Sydney, NSW. Jo has worked closely with the NGA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art collection, curators and artists to create curriculum resources and education programs for schools and teachers and public programs for children and families.


This module introduces the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. We explore ways educators and young children can approach art appreciation and art-making inspired by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. We also look at some specific art works and the contemporary artists behind them.

Join gallery educator Jo Krabman in a exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and discover ways that educators can encourage children to create and think critically about art and the art-making process. Featuring video interviews with artists, gallery curators and early childhood educators, this module will provide a range of strategies, tools and resources that you can use to develop young children’s understanding of artworks.

At the completion of the course, you will understand:

  • some general concepts that underpin an understanding of all art forms
  • a range of strategies, tools and resources that educators can use to develop their own and young children’s understanding of art works
  • how to apply general art concepts to a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual arts
  • how to explore children’s art, and
  • some examples of educators using reflective, respectful art practice with children.

Acknowledging and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, ways of being and ways of doing

In creating this module, writer Jo Krabman collaborated first with several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators and art experts including Adam Duncan from Wiradjuri Preschool, Keith Munro and Emily McDaniel from the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, as well as Cyndy Newman and her team at Goodstart Kambah; some of whom feature in the module videos. Further guidance and insight was provided by artists Damien Kamholtz, Graham Rostron, and Abel Naborbor. We want to deeply thank all who contributed their time, knowledge and experience to this module.

For this module, in addition to the usual two independent Quality Assurance reviews ECA commissions, ECA engaged a third independent reviewer to ensure the content was culturally appropriate. Although ECA does not identify individual reviewers, two Aboriginal early childhood educators provided quality assurance reviews and suggestions on content for Understanding and Making Art: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in Early Childhood Settings.

Suitable for early childhood education and care professionals at all stages of their careers. This module will take an estimated one hour to complete.

Portfolio photograph courtesy of C. Newman, ACT.