Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Art Education (K-12), M.S.Ed.


Art Education Department


Dr. Shirley Hayes

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This qualitative case study investigated the question, “What insights can be gained by examining the role of parents and preschool teachers as contributing factors to artistic and aesthetic development in early childhood?” To build a foundation for this study, my review of literature gave a detailed account of past research that substantiates the benefits of the arts in early childhood development, the role of adults as vital to the enhancement of artistic and aesthetic development in early childhood, and the influence that home and preschool environments have on the artistic and aesthetic development of young children. The participants of this study were the teacher and the parents of preschoolers at a rural New York preschool. Over an eight week period data was collected and analyzed using a constructivist lens centered on Vygotsky’s theories of the more knowledgeable other and the zone of proximal development. Data collection methods included interviews, a questionnaire, and on-site observations. My analysis of data revealed that many adults were apathetic regarding artistic and aesthetic development in early childhood, as well as under-informed of the benefits of the arts in early childhood development. Some adults’ perspectives towards early arts education could be attributed to present changes in technology and culture, along with multiple other explanations that deterred adults from stimulating artistic and aesthetic development. Finally, my research revealed that an increase in knowledge and awareness resulted in increased adult interest to facilitate an early arts education. The overarching theme which correlated all of my findings was the need for education and advocacy on behalf of the arts in early childhood. Further study could examine the actions and perspectives of other preschools or daycare centers in regards to early childhood artistic and aesthetic development.

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