Putting art in place (2-part series)

Dr Red Ruby Scarlet



National Quality Standard
QA1Educational program and practice
QA3Physical environment
QA6Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
2Know the content and how to teach it
6Engage in professional learning


Dr Red Ruby Scarlet
Dr Red Ruby Scarlet is an activist, artist, early childhood teacher-researcher, consultant and academic.


Educators often think they’re not ‘arty’ or ‘creative’, but if they focus less on expertise and more on relationships, they can create truly meaningful and holistic artistic experiences for children. To put art in place in the everyday curriculum, educators need to embrace the idea of environment as the third teacher and move beyond the human-led and -controlled curriculum to a collectively created space where place, materials and non-Western knowledge flourish.

This two-part professional learning series focuses on art and how it facilitates the development of relationships with Country, children and adults as well as with materials and technology. It centres on a discussion of the learning that arises from arts practices and entwines this with examples of how positive relationships are generated. The series also answers questions surrounding who the teacher is and what counts as valid knowledge. It also explores what learning looks and feels like in human–non-human relations and how Indigenous cosmologies are infused throughout all of these relationships.

Taking this approach of putting art in place and centering it as the nucleus of learning in early childhood curriculum can help children thrive and educators and teachers benefit as equally successful learners.


Learning objectives:

  • develop an understanding of relationships—with Country, children, adults, materials, technology and knowledge—as the primary skill for arts practice
  • gain knowledge of the cultural histories of art materials and connect them with place
  • value their own and collective learning through relationships rather than skill alone
  • understand theory and practice in planning for and practising the arts.


Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes