Children, Meaning-Making and the Arts, 2nd Edition

By Susan Wright

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This Australian text is about children’s voices – their minds, feelings, souls.  It’s about how children’s voices are liberated through the arts, and how children make and communicate meaning through still and moving images, sounds, textures, gestures and the use of many other signs.  It is also about how teachers, parents, peers and the community influence children’s early development, and how quality arts education in early childhood is an essential component of lifelong learning.

The authors are teachers and researchers who are respected for their contributions to early childhood arts education.  All of them have addressed their topics via practical examples, which are embedded in current philosophies and theories, often stemming from original research and firsthand interactions with children.

Susan Wright is Chair of Arts Education in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.  Prior to this appointment, she was Professor and Head of Early Childhood and Special Needs Education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore.  Susan’s teaching and research foci are on young children’s learning, with a particular interest in the mediating tools of the arts, children’s meaning-making and voice using artistic symbol systems and arts pedagogy and developmental semiotics.
  • Based on a socio-constructivist philosophy.
  • Coverage of multiple intelligences, multiple modalities; mind/body interdependence; and how emotional and spiritual connections contribute to learning and understanding - through Gardner and other modern theorists. 
  • Educational practices such as the documentation of learning processes, portfolio assessment and critical reflection are integrated throughout.
  • Pedagogical features at the end of chapter include Questions and Activities and Further Readings which assist the student with applying the content and theory presented and extending knowledge base.
  • Case studies utilised in each chapter show students best practice.
  • Children’s work samples are presented to provide original source material for students.
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Table of contents
  • 1: Ways of Knowing in the Arts. Susan Wright
  • 2: The visual arts: Ways of seeing. Felicity McArdle
  • 3: Belonging, being and becoming musical: An introduction to children’s musical worlds. Margaret S. Barrett
  • 4: Dance: Moving beyond steps to ideas. Wendy Schiller and Jeff Meiners
  • 5: Dramatic play and drama in the early years: Re-imagining the approach. Julie Dunn and Madonna Stinson
  • 6: How do media production and ICT fit into the early childhood context? Shaleen Prowse
  • 7: Young children, the arts and learning: Outside of school, at home and in the community. Barbara Piscitelli
  • 8: Valuing diversity in the early childhood arts classroom: A drama case study. Madonna Stinson and Peter O’Connor
  • 9: Arts education as a collective experience. Susan Wright