AJEC Vol. 42 No. 3 – Beyond the gates: Examining the issues facing early childhood teachers when they visit art museums and galleries with young children in New Zealand
Victoria University of Wellington
Excursions to cultural centres, such as art museums and galleries, can add new and valuable learning opportunities for young children. This paper presents the findings from a large scale national questionnaire that asked early childhood (EC) teachers in New Zealand about their engagement with art museums and galleries for learning experiences, outside of their EC centres. As part of a mixed methods research project, the questionnaire also sought to ascertain the degree to which the EC sector uses art museums and galleries as excursion destinations, and the ways in which they are used (or not). The findings suggest that key factors that both help and hinder visiting art museums and galleries with young children include: the pedagogical approaches EC teachers have in relation to visual arts education, the ways in which teachers view successful learning opportunities for young children, and a teacher’s own perceptions and fears of art museums and galleries. This study suggests that teachers have mixed views about whether visiting art museums and galleries will provide appropriate experiences for young children.