National Art Education Association, Revised 2013. (PDF, 2 pgs.)
The visual arts are essential to early learning. Every child is innately curious and seeks to construct personal knowledge and understanding of the world. Children construct knowledge in meaningful social contexts with peers and adults. Children experience their environment in holistic ways that are best served by an interdisciplinary approach that includes both guided and spontaneous learning experiences. The visual arts support multiple ways of knowing and learning that are inherent in the unique nature of each child. The visual arts empower children to communicate, represent, and express their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. The visual arts offer opportunities to develop creativity, imagination, and flexible thinking. The arts enrich a young child’s understanding of diverse cultures. Early childhood art programs should be comprehensive in scope, including studio experiences, interactions with artists, real and/or virtual visits to museums and art galleries, and opportunities to respond to art through conversation, storytelling, play, dramatics, movement, music, and art making. For additional information, please refer to the Position Paper on the Early Childhood Issues Group section of the NAEA website.