We're not like those artist people ...we are those artist people!" Young children's artistic practices as instances of ownership of learning
By: Marta Dias Pinheiro Cabral
Published: 5/18/2016
Uploaded: 06/06/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2016 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: community

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Description/Abstract: This qualitative research focuses on young children's artistic practices in the context of an early childhood center. Specifically, it focuses on four children between the ages of zero and five years old and their explorations with materials during the school year, with special attention to the annual art exhibition in which they actively participate as artists, co-curators, and museum educators. Using parent interviews, personal reflective journaling, and children's artist statements as primary data sources, this study presents understandings of how changes in children's language, decision-making, and materials explorations are reflected in the ways these children present themselves and their experiences in the context of their art program and the art exhibitions mentioned. These interviews also contribute to understanding in what ways these changes are perceived by their parents in relation to their children's school experiences.
Data analysis showed three main areas of results: Developing Ownership, Experiencing Community, and Understanding Materials. Through narratives interpreting data related to each child, these categories are explained and exemplified in an account of children's experiences in the center's art program. Parent interviews show the pivotal importance they find these artistic experiences to have in their children's development.
This study shows that with the appropriate scaffolding of a rich art program based on active engagement by students and teachers, young children may create and develop ownership of their own learning. Through experiences of community building and participation based on the exploration and understanding of materials (such as traditional art materials, newer media, plus artworks and art spaces), the children in this study have shown their identity as artists aware of their active roles in a community. These aspects contribute to establish the significance of such a participatory curatorial approach within early childhood studio programs. This study suggests an approach to early childhood art teaching based on three basic movements: offering, listening and considering, and responding.