A study of the impact of art in Irish pre-schools on children's creative development and associated learning
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Ireland, in the last decade has witnessed an increased demand for child care services. The government has responded by addressing the quality o f childcare services and the educational needs of the childcare workers. They have approached these issues by implementing a quality framework called Siolta and the new early childhood curriculum framework Aistear. Nevertheless, to date, these frameworks are not mandatory. Therefore each pre-school setting has its own limitations due to childcare workers’ experience and facilities, and these consequently influence and affect a child’s experience during art. Similarly, the theoretical framework and methodology of each pre-school will affect the way in which art is facilitated and creativity is fostered. The object o f this research was to study the pre-schools art systems’ impact on children’s creative development and associated learning, by analysing the provision of art in the Mainstream, Steiner Waldorf, Montessori and HighScope pre-schools. This research used both qualitative and quantitative methods throughout two distinct phases of primary research. In fulfilling this objective, it was found that the value system of each preschool affects the provision of art through its environment, facilitation, and objective o f exercise. Areas of conflict were identified between children’s overall and creative developmental needs, and responded to with recommendations of best practice. Ultimately, the objective of the art exercise should where possible be creativity nurtured appropriately to each child’s developmental stage.
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