HALE W18 Masthead

Delight at the NPG’s Little Faces

Alexandra Tolmie

I was very excited to be able to take part in the National Portrait Gallery’s (NPG) Little Faces program recently with Miss 2 and Miss 3. Little Faces is a 30-minute program that provides a facilitated social and learning experience for young children (aged 6 months to 3 years) and their carer. The sessions are informative and engaging for adults and children alike.

When we arrived we were given name tags and led into the NPG Education Studio to meet the friendly educators Amelia and Marina where we were shown a copy of James Morrison with Flugelhorn by Kerrie Lester and the children were introduced to the idea of portraiture.


We talked about our faces and James Morrison’s face, and looked at some of the other elements included in his portrait such as his flugelhorn and the piano in the background. This segued into a discussion about music and musical instruments, as we sang and danced to a few favourite songs which took around 10-minutes.


We then followed Amelia into the gallery. Sitting on the colourful rug, the children observed the real James Morrison with Flugelhorn while educators pointed out the different textures used. Because we were unable to touch the real thing, Amelia brought out a textured blanket to help the children feel some of the different textures they were seeing in the painting. After this the children were given musical instruments to play as part of a tiny orchestra (10 minutes).


In the final part of the session, we returned to the Education Studio to make our own musical instruments to take home with us. This was quite possibly my children’s favourite part as it involved stickers!

After our session finished, all the big people headed to the café for some seriously delicious coffee (all carers receive a drink voucher to use in the café). Overall it was a lovely way to spend a morning. The NPG is fast becoming one of my favourite places to visit with small children. They love looking at all the faces in the portraits and the staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Little Faces sessions take place at the NPG on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of each month and bookings are required to secure a place. The next sessions are on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 May.

The essentials

What: the National Portrait Gallery’s Little Faces program
Where: National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes
When: 9.30am-10am and 10.30am-11am Tuesday 12 May; 9.30am-10am and 10.30am-11am Wednesday 13 May
Web: www.portrait.gov.au


Alex Tolmie

Alex is the founder and co-chair of the Department of Education and Training Women's Network and a mum of two gorgeous little girls. She has overcome big challenges as a new mother and now loves to help others become confident, joyful mamas themselves. She blogs about her experience at draxela.com More about the Author