2015, Volume 18, Research Articles

Children’s visual art experiences

early childhood research journal

Full reference
Plows, J  (2015). Three-year-old children’s visual art experiences. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 18, 37 - 51.

 

Original Research

Three-year-old children’s visual art experiences

Julie Plows
University of Auckland, NZ  

Abstract

This art-based study investigated the verbal and non-verbal communication of five children, three boys and two girls. Previous New Zealand research about visual art learning in the early childhood education field focused mainly on the practices of teachers. In this study, participant observations and audio-recordings were complemented by visual data collected through video recordings and photographs for the purpose of understanding how young children speak, use gesture and action, relate to other people and interact with resources while making art. The children’s existing knowledge and cognitive processes were evident through the multiple ways they expressed themselves. Children’s communication processes during these visual art events were complex and dynamic.

The main threads revealed in the data analysis were: children making art alongside peers and adults, interactions with art tools, links between the home and the early childhood setting and the way that children set their own goals. The findings suggest that teachers’ evaluations of three-year-olds’ visual art experiences are likely to be accurate when children’s actions and narratives are considered.

Key words: Visual art; arts; communication; intrapersonal; interpersonal; listening; visual art-based research; video; making meaning.

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