Summary of findings

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 artists effectively introduced new resources and approaches, encouraged experimentation, modelled and endorsed the children’s creativity and gave them opportunities to reflect on their own learning.

Artists and galleries were seen to contribute effectively to children’s personal and social development and their wellbeing. They challenged children with new ideas and experiences, motivating different kinds of learner with varied ways of working. Opportunities were provided for children to work together and they were encouraged to be independent, confident learners and thinkers.

Artists and galleries were found to offer rich opportunities for the development of children’s language, literacy and communication skills. Experiences were used effectively by artists and teachers to provoke discussion, listening and reasoning. A rich, imaginative commentary was seen to be inspired by both looking at and making art.

Artists and galleries were able to provide a wealth of opportunities for children’s creative development. Artists were confident in modelling a creative approach to exploring and representing the world and were able to offer opportunities to explore a diverse range of artistic processes. Children also developed their concepts of art and artists.

Through the variety of issues and ideas explored in the exhibitions and the activities that developed around them, all projects brought an exciting dimension to furthering children’s knowledge and understanding of the world, exciting their curiosity and broadening their horizons. The open-ended nature of activities enabled children to explore for themselves how things work and how materials behave.

Physical development was an important dimension within many of the projects, with children having opportunities to work at different scales; developing their gross and fine motor skills and furthering their spatial awareness.

In some projects, art experiences were used effectively to bring an experiential approach to children’s mathematical development and to consolidate their learning in visual ways, particularly around shape, sorting and measurement.

By employing Welsh-speaking artists, many of the projects offered rich opportunities to develop the Welsh language, immersing children in a bilingual world and extending their spoken vocabulary with art words and phrases.

This project has emphasised the vital importance of the Foundation Phase approach being facilitated by motivated, inspired, creative adults (teachers and artists) and real, exciting resources and starting points (such as galleries and artworks).

Foundation phase advisory teacher

The two tables below show that the projects succeeded in making a significant contribution to all aspects of the Foundation Phase curriculum. These figures also demonstrate how effective the action research programme has been in developing the understanding of teachers, artists and galleries.

Year 1

Year 2

NB Figures have been shown in two separate charts as the Foundation Phase areas changed between Years 1 and 2 of the project.

From five inspirational projects, a range of discoveries, insights and strategies have been documented about the value of artists and galleries in the Foundation Phase approach and across all curriculum areas. These are detailed in the Toolkit, How Red is Red?