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ERIC Number: EJ868189
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jul
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-1538-6619
Providing Rich Art Activities for Young Children
Mulcahey, Christine
Young Children, v64 n4 p107-112 Jul 2009
Using works of art with young children is a perfect way to bridge the gap between art activities that are too open or too closed. Teachers of young children sometimes try to find a middle ground by allowing free painting time at an easel in addition to recipe-oriented activities such as putting together precut shapes to create a spider or an apple tree. They may assume that the free painting activity is a nice balance with the more step-by-step activity. While these approaches do provide balance, they are at opposite ends of the continuum--one can be too open and one too closed. Teaching young children ways to look at art, talk about it, and appreciate it is exciting. Young children are eager to talk about works of art, whether their own creations or someone else's. Talking about art strengthens language development at an age when children are quickly developing a language system and vocabulary. Using reproductions of art in the curriculum is surprisingly easy and provides a broad range of benefits for children. Introducing artworks to young children allows them to construct their own knowledge, teaches appreciation of diversity, encourages storytelling, and fosters imaginative and critical thinking skills. Giving children choices in materials and ideas stimulates the imagination and allows them to think more inventively. A child's personality and viewpoint are reflected in her artwork, and teachers can show respect for the child by encouraging her in pursuing her own way of working with art materials. Looking, talking, and creating together turns an art activity into a social activity in which children can learn from each other. This approach provides rich conversation, introduces social and cultural factors, and recognizes the significance of scaffolding and teaching as proposed by Vygotsky.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Kindergarten; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Rhode Island