The Adult Roles

The Teacher Explains A Project.The teacher or responsive adult in an early childhood setting who wants to foster development through an expressive arts based curriculum, needs an "expressive arts" attitude. First and foremost, that means understanding that everyone is there to have fun. Life and learning are fun! Art, dance, drama, and music; the expressive arts; are creative responses to life. By following the child's lead and incorporating play strategies based on the children's interests and development, the responsive adult shows acceptance, respect, and even encouragement of creative ideas, processes, and responses of individual children, as well as the group, through expressive arts activities. 

The responsive teacher who appreciates the role that play has in learning provides materials, space, and time for children to explore and discover. This gives children opportunities to construct their own understanding of the materials. They are then able to move to representing personal understanding symbolically through play. The expressive arts are in their very nature symbolic expressions. The versatility of the expressive arts offers all children the means to express themselves through play. 

To Foster Creativity:

  • Provide opportunities to repeat activities so children can explore the activities in many ways. 
  • Provide time, space, and materials for play. 
  • Prepare the environment so learning occurs through active exploration and interaction with teachers, other children, and materials. 
  • Allow time to practice and explore materials and ideas. 
  • Provide materials and activities that are interesting and naturally motivating. 
To Encourage Independence:
  • Provide children with opportunities to make choices. 
  • Provide for self-initiated activities. 
  • Involve children in preparing materials. 
  • Enable children to be involved in the set-up and clean-up of daily activities. 
To Nurture Respect for Others:
  • Accept a child's response to questions. 
  • Develop children's ideas, questions, and interests into concrete learning experiences. 
  • Provide opportunities to informally discuss children's discoveries. 
  • Provide opportunities for peers to assist one another. 
  • Encourage, but never force, participation. 
Chapter Three also discusses Teacher Involvement in Art Play and Teaching Strategies.
Updated 9/11/02.