Artists are helping to paint a bright future for Northern Ireland's school children.
Ms McDonough said creative expression was key
Nippa, the Early Years Organisation, and the Arts Council NI have launched two new projects to enable pre-school children to channel their creativity.
Lottery funding of £340,000 will be used to bring together artists and early years practitioners.
They will combine their skills to give pre-school children the chance to express themselves through art.
The launch marks an innovative partnership between Nippa and the Arts Council.
A sum of £250,000 will be used to deliver the arts programmes.
It will be complemented by a training programme, to receive £90,000 in funding, for artists and early years practitioners.
They will combine their skills to help young children explore ways of emotionally expressing themselves through art and movement - leading to happy, stimulated and confident children.
Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council, said: "The Arts Council places a high priority on developing the quality of provision and access to creative opportunities for children in early years.
"This significant investment of £340,000 from our Lottery Fund strengthens our commitment to supporting an environment in which children are encouraged and enabled to express their natural creativity through the arts."
Ms McDonough said creative expression was key to opening opportunities for children to learn, interact with others, develop confidence in language and communication and, perhaps, most of all, have fun.