Welcome to Art Play Children Learning

Hello, I am Dr. Louisa Penfold and I work in children’s art education!

I run Art Play Children Learning – a blog for parents and educators that help make art fun and meaningful for kids.

I also work at Harvard University as a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Early Childhood Education.

Check out the video below to hear what Art Play Children Learning is all about…

On this website you will find posts that give activity ideas and share different approaches to children’s creative learning.

To find your way through these posts, I have created a directory with six different key sections. You can find these under the ‘Directory’ heading at the top of the page. These are art, materials, play, learning, reflections on children’s learning spaces as well as a section on my academic research.

I love connecting with others who also share a relentless enthusiasm for children’s art education so please feel to sign up for the mailing list and leave a comment!

A little about me 

Aside from nerding out about art and children’s learning on this blog, I also do some other things.

I am originally from Melbourne, Australia 🇦🇺 but have lived a very international life.

From 2015-2019 I moved to England to do my PhD in Early Childhood Education. My research looked at the design of children’s creative learning environments in art museums. This work was run as a partnership between the University of Nottingham, Tate and the Whitworth Art Gallery. A big part of this was looking at how children’s creative learning can be supported by artist’s experimentation with materials. You can read more about this in my article ‘Material matters in children’s creative learning’ which was published in MIT’s Journal of Design and Science in 2019.

My PhD supervisors (who I love so much!!) were Professor Pat Thomson (School of Education, University of Nottingham) and Dr. Emily Pringle (Head of Learning Practice & Research, Tate). The research was funded by the University of Nottingham, Brisbane City Council, The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and The Graduate Women of Queensland Fellowship Fund.

I have also worked as a children’s curator at The Ipswich Art Gallery and as an Exhibitions Assistant at Artslink Queensland. More recently, I have worked as a Research Fellow on Serpentine Galleries’ Changing Play programme (UK).

In 2012, I also spent time researching intergenerational learning approaches in American art museums at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Smithsonian and the Museum of Modern Art as part of my Master thesis.

In February 2020 I moved to Boston to take up a position at Harvard University. I am working as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Early Childhood Education at the Graduate School of Education. The work I am doing is based in preschools across the city of Boston.

Please feel free to send me an email to say hello! Especially if you are in the New England area.

Happy making!

Louisa x

P.S. Thanks to Stefan Zander for filming the video.


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  1. Suzana Miletic
    29th September 2018 / 1:27 pm

    Hello Louisa, I am an Early Years Educator from Ontario, Canada. My encounter with your blog could’t be more timely, as our team is exploring and learning together about creative ways to suport childrens’ explorations and expressions throug art. I will definitelly share this blog with the team as a way of supporting our reflective practice . Thank You!

    • louisapenfoldblog
      2nd October 2018 / 1:24 pm

      Hi Suzana, nice to hear from you! Your teams work around children’s experimentation with art sounds great, please let me know how it goes xx

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