In primary school schools and early childhood educational settings arts-based programs are mainly taught by generalist teachers. Within their pre-service education programs these students often study only one or two courses which have a specific focus on arts curriculum and building student creative capacities. In this paper the rationale for the design of specific assessment tasks and activities for one mandatory arts pre-service teacher education course is articulated with reference to socio-cultural and systems theories of creativity. One cohort of students' perceptions and learning are analysed using mixed methods research strategies. Several key narratives emerge from the student creative work and analysis of reflective data. Whilst some positive shifts in attitudes, learning and domain knowledge can be identified, the long term impact of these experiences needs to be considered within the wider culture of university and school programs.