Camp Australia puts art at the heart with Big Art program
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Camp Australia puts art at the heart with Big Art program

Camp Australia puts art at the heart with Big Art program

by Freya Lucas

July 02, 2024

Outside school hours care (OSHC) provider Camp Australia has maintained the commitment to its popular Big Art program, after announcing in February this year that the popular program would move from vacation care only to be run throughout the school term also. 


Previously offered during the school holidays, in 2023 Big Art saw over 30,000 children participating in over 115,000 sessions nationally across over 500 schools in a one-month campaign. 


During Big Art children accessed “the ultimate social space” to unleash their creativity, growing through art and making colourful connections with friends. 


As the program has evolved, Big Art is now offered on Fridays across the Camp Australia network, with the provider transforming spaces into art studios, offering children the chance to gather with their peers and immerse themselves in a variety of art mediums from painting to creative writing and many more besides. 


We recently spoke with Kerry Evitts, one of the key partners in the Big Art program, to learn more about the program, the transition into term time, and what’s on the cards for the remainder of the year. 


Inspiring creativity


Guided by the popular early childhood education and care (ECEC) perspective of ‘process over product’, art therapist, professional painter, psychotherapist and mother of three Kerry sees a principal aspect of her role as being to guide children through a journey to their most creative selves. 


It goes deeper than just kids creating art – it’s a movement,” she said of the Big Art program. 


“It offers children an amazing avenue for positive self-expression through creativity, making it accessible, enjoyable, and impactful. I believe guided learning techniques and free creative exploration both hold pivotal roles in nurturing children’s artistic development.”


When it comes to encouraging children to explore their creativity, Ms Evitts acknowledges that for educators it can at times be more challenging than expected because each child is unique, with varying levels of confidence. 


Some may struggle due to issues like anxiety, which can hinder their willingness to engage in creative activities, despite often benefiting from them the most.


The key to unlocking their creativity, she believes, lies in leading by example—creating an open and safe environment where they feel free to experiment or follow along without pressure. 


“Just like in other aspects of life, building positive relationships is crucial. It is about creating a safe and supportive space where everyone can feel comfortable being themselves,” Ms Evitts said. 


“So, how do I achieve this? It’s simple—through openness and fun of course!”


Experimentation is crucial 


“Children naturally love creating art and having fun—it’s a part of being human,” she continued. 


“They enjoy experimenting with colours, textures, and exploring cause and effect in art. However, what stands out the most for me is their joy in sharing what they have created. The sense of pride, achievement, and growing confidence they feel shines brightly. For me, seeing their creations through their eyes is just as enjoyable as the creative process itself.”


For Camp Australia CEO Warren Jacobson the open-ended nature of Big Art is about blending guided learning and support with the freedom to experiment with different artistic materials. 


“Each program is uniquely tailored to suit the interests and developmental stages of children at the service,” he explained. 


“By incorporating structured guidance, children can learn specific techniques and artistic concepts, while the freedom to explore various materials encourages creativity and self-expression. This dual approach ensures that children benefit from a well-rounded artistic experience that fosters skill development and imaginative exploration.”


Looking to the future, Mr Jacobson outlined the positive reception to the program from families, saying its an offering which is “poised for growth and enhancement.” 


“Each term, the program expands, introducing a new competition and forging new partnerships to enrich the opportunities offered,” he said. 


“The goal is to keep the program dynamic, exciting and relevant ensuring that it evolves in response to the interests and needs of the children and their families.” 


Learn more about Big Art here. 

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