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Updated 9/12/02.

Integrating Expressive Art Experience

Young children show positive outcomes and meet individualized goals as they participate in the expressive arts when these experiences are developmentally appropriate, activity-based, child-centered, and integrated into the routines of ongoing daily activities. These outcomes can be achieved in early childhood classrooms, special education classrooms, and inclusion classrooms.

When the arts relate to projects, themes, or topics of interest to the children, such as a new highway beingbuilt in front of the school, meaning and experiences magnify. When adults reflect on the educational goals for a particular child, many strategies to achieve those goals present themselves during expressive arts activities.  Sometimes a child shows a high interest in dolls because there is a new baby at home. If one educational goal is to learn how to button and zip, doll play can lead to buttoning and zipping, opportunities for sharing, taking turns, asking questions, and carrying on conversations.

We do not learn in isolation, nor do we learn only one thing at a time. Learning outcomes and content are linked together. When children draw, they learn about the attributes of the particular marking instrument, the differences between markers, crayons, and pencils, the texture and color of the paper, the necessity for sharing materials, where the materials are kept, and what to do when finished. And they probably learn more than that.

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