Challis Early Childhood Education Centre [Challis Community Primary School]

STREAM 1 - 2013

The Project

Challis Early Childhood Education Centre’s Year 2 students created their own picture book based on the school’s Golden Rule – ‘Treat others with respect no matter how they treat you’. The goal of this AIR Grants Program project was to enhance the literacy and artistic skills of students and their understanding of the Golden Rule as the basis for relationships and problem solving.

Artists-in-residence Samantha Hughes and Sean Avery together with AIR Project Coordinator and visual arts teacher Ms Michelle Gilks worked in partnership with teachers in both English and Arts classes. Students were introduced to the book making process, learnt about narrative structure, conventions of illustrating, and participated in visual arts learning experiences to make their own picture books.

“I didn’t know that you could use expressions on your characters. I got better at my artwork because I learnt to zoom in on my characters and use my imagination.” Student

An excursion to The Literature Centre [link to lit centre website] in Fremantle early in the project made a powerful impression on students who saw original artwork from published authors and participated in activities to reinforce the idea that illustrations can themselves tell a story.

Using their new skills, students worked collaboratively to write five stories and produce illustrations for the finished book titled ‘Pirates and Cacti and Monsters, Oh My!’

The stories and the book were then professionally printed and distributed to families and the wider school community. The book and students’ artworks were displayed at the Challis Arts Festival in October 2013.

The teachers at Challis Early Childhood Education Centre gained enormously from the experience of working in class with the artists and through formal skills workshops. In addition, the weekly project journal created by Samantha, Sean and Michelle provided a detailed record of the teaching plan and specific exercises. This has become an invaluable school teaching resource.

“This project has allowed the children to experience success and to see what is possible when they work together. The progression of detail in the children’s artwork was amazing to witness and resulted in the gorgeous illustrations shown in the finished book. The children absorbed the skills taught and used them to make their characters come to life. The learning outcomes of the [AIR] project and the boost to the children’s self-esteem made this project one of the highlights of our school year.”  Mrs Lee Musumeci, Principal

“The biggest thing that I feel my students have gained from this [AIR] experience is a love of reading and writing books! … [Now] when students have free time at school they love writing and illustrating their own stories.”  Year 2 Teacher

Visit the project archive to read more about projects completed in 2013. View the teaching and learning resource and AiR advocacy video here. This video is also available through the Department of Education's YouTube channel.

Principal: Mrs Lee Musumeci
School Tel: (08) 9399 5851
School profile available at

AIR Project Coordinator at the time of project delivery: Mrs Michelle Gilks


Samantha Hughes
Tel: 0417 982 638

Sean Avery
Tel: 0401 804 956

Read about Samantha Hughes' 2015 AiR project at Hammond Park Primary School.

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