This special issue of iJADE is devoted to the art education of young children, and provides a timely platform for the dissemination of new research in this important area. For many young children their artistic experiences can prove to be some of the most profound and insightful of their early education. Although these creative moments are frequently integrated with a multitude of other educational experiences, nonetheless the artistic ones have a singularity, making them unique within the educational experience as a whole. It is the predominance of a visual epistemology that provides this specificity, and it hardly needs stating that knowing by means of the visual is of profound importance in our contemporary societies. The demonstration and the parole of this ‘knowing’ by young children should not be seen as peripheral, or as an adjunct to education. Fundamental to a well-informed art education are the critical expression of meaning and purpose, no matter how tentative these might appear. These practices entail a critical engagement with the languages of visual imagery, to which children readily adapt.
Remarkable capabilities are divulged in the most conspicuous ways as children play. This can lead the devoted and discerning observer into a deeper understanding of the intricate nature of young children’s thinking. In what they do, the language they use and the things they make as they play, children acquaint us with important aspects of their learning and development. Through careful observation, underlying patterns in thinking can emerge as children work on their schemas. With this in mind, the imperative for adults working with young children to sustain and nurture these forms of thought becomes ever more apparent.
Editorial for a special issue of the Journal on young children and art education.
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