Foundation Phase

A research programme took place in Wales from 2005–2009 exploring the contribution that galleries and artists can make to the new Foundation Phase curriculum in Wales. Galleries, artists and early years settings in local authorities teamed up to develop projects.

Here you’ll find a summary of findings alongside links to detailed case studies of each of the projects and a toolkit of strategies and approaches that have emerged from the programme. These are taken from the evaluation of the project carried out by independent consultant Fiona Godfrey.

The gallery provided a wealth of stimulation and really enthused and motivated the children’s learning.

Foundation Phase advisory teacher 

About the project

This research sought to address a reported lack of experience in working with young children and an interest in developing skills in this area among galleries in Wales. This interest was timely, as it coincided with plans by the Welsh Assembly to pilot and subsequently implement a new Foundation Phase curriculum for 3–7 years olds in Wales. Artists and galleries were found to contribute very well to the foundation phase ethos and approach. The exhibitions provided inspiring starting points to motivate children’s own ideas and the galleries provided spaces for children to learn outside the classroom. 


The project resulted in a number of case studies and a practical, bilingual toolkit, How Red is Red? A Toolkit for Art in the Early Years, which can be downloaded for free from the resources page.

In this project we saw examples of everything that is promoted in the Foundation Phase and its whole philosophy.

Early Years advisor 

The action research programme was organised by Engage Cymru through grant funding from the Arts Council of Wales, matched by contributions from each local authority involved.