THESIS UPDATE: Preschool Teacher’s Approach to Art

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Hi! My name is Alexandra Frenkel I am a graduate student in the Art Education program at CCNY. I am currently working as an assistant teacher at a preschool on the Upper East Side teaching children ages 2-4 years old. I love to paint, organize, and watch movies. Also, I love to spend time with my little nieces and nephew and do art with them. Our most recent endeavor was finger painting, which they loved!

I have been working at this preschool for the past two years. It has been a great experience thus far and I have been observing and learning how preschool teachers approach art in their classrooms. I have observed art being a great way for students to express themselves and, for some, this is the first time they are making meaningful artwork that they are very proud of.

The preschool teacher that I assist has told me that she does not have any educational experience in the arts and that she does not feel confident in her art abilities. This was very interesting to hear and I wanted to look into this further. I have seen this specific teacher’s approach to how the students make art in the classroom and I want to know how other preschool teachers in New York City are approaching the arts in their classrooms.

In my thesis I will explore how preschool teachers in New York City for students ages 2-4 approach talking about, looking at and making art.   And preschool teachers’ goals for including art skills (talking, looking, making) in their lesson plans. I will be conducting interviews with preschool teachers, sending surveys to get more data, and will be observing preschool teachers in the classroom setting.

Also, in the preschool that I have been assisting, the head preschool teachers need to evaluate their students in order for them to be accepted into kindergarten. I want to know to what extent preschool teachers consider art to be significant in evaluating students’ readiness for kindergarten and if that is a factor involved in their goals.

Existing research talks about how preschool teachers’ approach to art is heavily based on their philosophies, self-efficacy and prior experiences in education. This was interesting to learn.  I then compared these ideas to the head teacher I have been working with and it helped me understand why she approached art the way she did.

I am excited to interview more preschool teachers and research this topic further. I am hoping to help future preschool teachers determine what role they should play in the classroom and how to incorporate certain teaching strategies for implementing art skills into their lessons in order to enhance preschool students’ early arts experiences.

Here are some articles I thought were interesting, which focus on art experiences for preschoolers:

Process/Product focus Art Experiences

Creative Teachers, Creative Students

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