Academic journal article International Education Studies

Current Kindergarten Parents' Attitudes toward and Beliefs about Children's Art Education in Majority Cities and Counties of Taiwan

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Current Kindergarten Parents' Attitudes toward and Beliefs about Children's Art Education in Majority Cities and Counties of Taiwan

Article excerpt

Abstract

Current kindergarten parents' attitudes toward and beliefs about children's art education in majority cities and counties of Taiwan were investigated. A review of the literature was conducted to identify several possible influences on parents' interpretation/ assessment of children's art education. Then, the researcher developed and distributed a questionnaire for parents; 1,010 copies were distributed and 800 copies returned-of these, 758 were valid. Findings were as follows: (1) Parents' occupations, educational backgrounds, genders, ages, classes attended by children, and children's genders had significant effects on the interpretation of children's art education. (2) More than 66% of Taiwanese kindergarten teachers used the theme-based teaching approach. (3) Over 72% of parents believed that kindergarten art educators should have basic drawing skills and familiarity with art supplies and craft equipment. (4) Majority parents believed children could attend art classes by 3 years of age, and also informed that their children had attended art classes at that age.

Keywords: kindergarten parents' beliefs, children's art education, children's art functions, integrated curriculum, teaching methodology

1. Introduction

The Government of Taiwan plans to initiate the first stage of the Five-Year Aesthetic Education Project which will span the years 2014 to 2018. Additionally, the Ministry of Education plans to initiate the Root Project of Aesthetics and Arts Education for Preschool Students (MOE, 2013), which aims to encourage the offering of aesthetic experiences for every preschool child and to lay a foundation for their future learning of aesthetics. In the Temporary Curriculum Guidelines for Early Childhood Education, announced by the Ministry of Education in August 2012, the "aesthetic discipline" was incorporated in the curriculum because preschool education is critical to the enlightenment of the aesthetic domain. Aesthetic education should be implemented in a progressive, systematic way to ensure that all become familiar with aesthetics in schools, the community, and society as a whole. Moreover, all citizens should reach a consensus on the promotion of aesthetic education. When aesthetics becomes a necessity, citizens' aesthetic domain will be improved, thereby making Taiwan a country with aesthetic competitiveness (MOE, 2013). To learn about current Taiwanese parents' knowledge of the aesthetics discipline in the Temporary Curriculum Guidelines for Early Childhood Education, the researcher initiated an investigation.

Art is a part of the preschool curriculum for its own sake (Bruner, 1990; Thompson, 1995). No other component of the curriculum introduces children to an appreciation and understanding of the visual arts. Children should have awareness and knowledge of form, color, shape, line, and texture in artwork and in their environment. They should be able to create their own artwork and to appreciate the work of others. No other subject meets this need (Seefeldt & Barbour, 1998). The researcher has taught young children's art education in kindergartens for more than 15 years, as well as engaging in children's art education studies in southern Taiwan. A search of online research databases indicated that no studies of or large-scale surveys had been conducted with Taiwanese parents to assess their background in children's art and interpretation/assessment of children's art education from their artworks. Therefore, the researcher developed a study to investigate parents' attitudes toward and beliefs about children's art education on the main Island of Taiwan and the outlying islands. Results may offer parents useful knowledge about tutoring children in art education or interpreting/assessing children's artworks, and useful suggestions for art educators. Moreover, results may affect the ways in which art education teaching is offered to students in both public and private kindergartens. …

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