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Studies indicate that arts education improves math learning in early elementary years, promotes significant cognitive gains, supports discovery, and builds knowledge. This conference paper indicates the importance of the arts in early education curriculum and provides an innovative way for teachers to bring constructivism into the classroom. It describes a constructivist early childhood arts-based program at the Kaleidoscope Early Childhood School, a Head Start site in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The program's purpose is to reach poor children and serve the community by bringing together teachers, artists, and children in small groups in the areas of music, dance or creative movement, and visual art. The music program teaches children math, language arts, science, culture and socialization through the investigation of sound and how sound is made. Children in the visual arts program work in seven areas of choice and learn to explore, test, and repeat manipulation of materials. In the dance program children build knowledge of speed, depth perception, balance, direction, size, and movement combinations. The arts-based curriculum also allows for multicultural and therapeutic expression. The paper concludes that arts-based programming is cumulative, promotes risk taking, and is effective especially for at-risk children, and that teachers must move from interpreting and teaching art to the constructivist notion of supporting children's discovery of the arts. Contains 15 references. (SD)

Descriptors: Aesthetic Education, Art Activities, Art Appreciation, Art Education, Art Expression, Childrens Art, Constructivism (Learning), Curriculum Design, Dance Education, Discovery Learning, Economically Disadvantaged, Educational Strategies, Movement Education, Music Activities, Music Appreciation, Music Education, Preschool Education, Student Centered Curriculum, Visual Arts

Autor: Armistead, Mary E.


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