It would be a rare thing to visit an early years setting or classroom in Australia that does not display examples of young children’s artworks. This practice serves to give schools a particular ‘look’, but is no guarantee of quality art education. The Australian National Review of Visual Arts Education (NRVE) (2009) has called for changes to visual art education in schools. The planned new National Curriculum includes the arts (music, dance, drama, media and visual arts) as one of the five learning areas. Research shows that it is the classroom teacher that makes the difference, and teacher education has a large part to play in reforms to art education. This paper provides an account of one foundation unit of study (Unit 1) for first year university students enrolled in a 4-year Bachelor degree program who are preparing to teach in the early years (0–8 years). To prepare pre-service teachers to meet the needs of children in the 21st century, Unit 1 blends old and new ways of seeing art, child and pedagogy. Claims for the effectiveness of this model are supported with evidence-based research, conducted over the six years of iterations and ongoing development of Unit 1
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