Educators - Early Childhood
List of Studies
Increased Instructional Capacity. Looking at early childhood student artwork provides educators insights into how children express their knowledge. In one study of Reggio Emilia early childhood educational practices, researchers found that pre-service teachers learned to recognize art as both a process and product and became more aware of how art is a reflection of how students think (Ede & Da Ros-Voseles, 2010). The teachers also learned that using the arts with early childhood students provides opportunities for open-ended and divergent learning that mines students’ knowledge. Another study found that the arts provide teachers with a vehicle to have special needs students express themselves and make choices about their learning, opportunities often lacking from the early childhood curriculum for special needs students (Mason et al., 2008). Research also finds that when the arts are integrated across the curriculum in the context of whole school reform, teachers’ teaching becomes more dynamic. In a study of the Oklahoma A+ schools, for example, teachers were more inventive in their curriculum, took risks and were more focused about their practice (Barry, 2010).
Professional Learning. Teacher training and professional development in the arts and arts-integrated instruction help teachers develop capacities needed to provide arts-integrated instruction to their students. One study found that when pre-service candidates participated in in-depth arts activities they gained an appreciation of the value of arts in the early childhood curriculum and a keener sense of how to bring the art forms they learned into their classrooms (Tselfes & Paroussi, 2009). When they experienced arts-integrated instruction in science and theater integration, their knowledge of both the art form and science discipline were strengthened (Tselfes & Paroussi, 2009).
Teacher Engagement and Retention. Early childhood educators who teach at arts-rich schools like the A+ schools in Oklahoma, are more engaged in their teaching leading to greater effectiveness in the classroom and decreased absenteeism (Barry, 2010).