Utilizing Images in Art to Foster Dialogue about Cultural and Historical Issues in the Early Childhood Classroom

By Caroline Clark-Murphy, Barbara Crossland and Barbara Martin.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The authors of the paper explore ways teachers of young children in grades pre kindergarten through third grade can utilize a variety of art works to stimulate conversations about issues that are considered culturally charged or historically sensitive. Art imagery, when used as a visual cue, can promote even very young children to think beyond their own experience and connect emotionally to the artist’s message. We believe that our method of incorporating art history and the aesthetic experience of viewing art, can increase children’s social consciousness and broaden their understanding of the diversity and similarities in the human experience. Young children’s ability to “see” what adults cannot is showcased in their ability to communicate their feelings and thoughts about the art and the artist’s motivation for creating it. The trend in early childhood education however, is to avoid any controversial or seemingly sensitive topics out of fear that it might be disturbing or developmentally inappropriate. As a result, children are misinformed or inadequately prepared for the reality of past and present.

Keywords: Art, Early Childhood, Cultural Diversity, History

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.89-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 528.472KB).

Dr. Caroline Clark-Murphy

Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction Department, College of Education, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Missouri, USA

Caroline Clark-Murphy, PhD Has a masters in Arts Education from the University of New Mexico and a terminal degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Arkansas. She coordinates the early childhood program in the College of education and has a background in art education, curriculum development, and special education. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and supervises teaching practicums. Current research interest include artistic development in young children and best practices in early childhood education.

Dr. Barbara Crossland

Chair, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Missouri, USA

Dr. Barbara Crossland is a career educator having served as a public school teacher, an elementary principal, and a University professor. She currently serves as Chair for the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at Northwest Missouri State University. Barbara has a special interest in diversity issues and the education of young children.

Dr. Barbara Martin

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO, USA

Barbara Martin has worked in the area of early childhood and early childhood special education for all of her professional career. She received her PhD in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Kansas. Currently, Dr. Martin teaches courses in early childhood education, special education, and classroom/behavior management. Barbara’s research interests include identifying and implementing best practices in early childhood/early childhood special education and behavior management.


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