Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

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


Art Education Department


Shirley Hayes

Department Home page


Aesthetics is sometimes overlooked in the elementary art curriculum. I wanted my students to gain the skills needed to have more mature aesthetic responses to artwork. I chose to embark on this research to expand first grade students’ aesthetic abilities and to learn how to best teach aesthetics to young children.

As the participants’ teacher, I acted as both a participant and an observer in this study. To triangulate the data, I administered two student questionnaires, one at the beginning of the study and another at the end; I observed and recorded field notes of the students as they worked independently and in small groups; and I tape-recorded class discussions throughout this study.

Through data analysis I found out about first grade ability, their initial shallow responses to works of art, the need for a more knowledgeable other, how to engage students in aesthetics, and how first grade students understand value and judgment in art. Through these five findings, I came to realize that aesthetic education needs to begin early, needs to occur over a longer span of time, and needs to focus more on the context of works of art. I learned the importance of prompting and empowering students. In addition, I learned about the student’s ability to apply what they learned about aesthetics to their own artwork. Aesthetic education is necessary and first grade students are capable of having beginning level conversations on aesthetics.

Included in

Art Education Commons