Art in the Early Years

Art in the Early Years

Art in the Early Years

Art in the Early Years

Synopsis

For all involved in teaching young children, this timely book offers the necessary tool with which to develop a broad, creative and inspirational visual arts programme. Presented in two parts, this text covers both theoretical and practical angles: * Part one investigates contemporary early childhood art education, challenging what is traditionally considered an early years art experience * Part two puts theory to text by presenting the reader with numerous inventive visual art lessons that imaginatively meet goals for creative development issued by the QCA The author strikes the perfect balance between discussion of the subject and provision of hands-on material for use in lessons, which makes this book a complete art education resource for all involved in early years art education. Teachers, trainee teachers, or nursery teachers, who wish to implement a more holistic art curriculum in the classroom whilst meeting all the required standards, will find this an essential companion.

Excerpt

Art in the early years - the phrase evokes images of young children in colourful aprons up to their elbows in school paint, bright marks on paper clipped to a child-sized easel, little hands furiously pounding, squeezing, or moulding some malleable medium, the unmistakable feel of crayons or smell of play dough. Yet, though scores of us recollect these quintessential childhood art experiences, there is much more to the artistic education of young children than the splashing of paint, or the manipulation of art media. Some of the art lessons children partake in, while devised by educators with the best intentions, often fall short of delivering any educational or developmental benefits. As Part I of this text demonstrates, art in early childhood is often characterised by activities that offer little more than a chance to, perhaps, get messy, or play with art media. What is more, the common non-interventionist approach of merely sitting a child in front of a lump of clay, although seemingly educationally sound, can ultimately lead to boredom and dissatisfaction. Partly because of this widespread practice and narrow view of what art in early childhood could potentially offer, many educators fail to understand the importance of art in the early years, and possess, at best, only a vague notion of how to support the artistic learning of young children.

This book extends the limited definition of what is traditionally considered an artistic experience - art production or the making of form - and takes a more expansive and holistic approach further incorporating aesthetic experiences (experiences with beauty), and encounters with art (reflecting on and growing from works of art, craft, and the like). In a holistic art programme, the three types of art experiences form a highly related structure, in which all of the elements in the model influence each of the other elements. Art making might include a previous encounter with art or sometimes an aesthetic experience will spark an idea for art making. Art making, encounters with art, and aesthetic experiences work together, their union forms a comprehensive art programme. This relationship is demonstrated in Figure 1.1.

In the model presented, all artistic experiences are dynamic; experience leads to more experiences; discovery generates further investigation. However, art

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