Creative Arts for the Young Child

April 16, 2003

ECE 156 – 001
Fall 2002


Mellisa A. Clawson, Ph.D.
Office Location: 201A Franklin Hall
Class Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30 1:45 p.m.
Office Hours: Monday 2:00 4:00 p.m., Tuesday 9:30 11:30 a.m., Thursday 10:30 11:30 a.m. (These hours are set the first two weeks of classes only; regularly scheduled hours will be announced in class).

Required Text: There is no required text for this course. Articles will be distributed in class. (Please see the List of Readings below).

Course Overview:
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with approaches to the creative arts in early childhood education. Students will learn about the visual arts, music, movement, and drama activities for young children and how creative arts foster total development. The teacher s role in planning developmentally appropriate creative arts curriculum will be emphasized throughout the course. Students will have opportunities to design, implement, and participate in various creative arts projects.

UMF Standards for Initial Teacher Certification:
This course is intended to facilitate students achievement of the following UMF Standards for Initial Teacher Certification:

1. The beginning teacher demonstrates the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) she or he teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful to students.
2. The beginning teacher demonstrates the ability to integrate other disciplines.
3. The beginning teacher demonstrates a knowledge of the diverse ways in which students learn and develop by providing learning opportunities that support their intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and cultural development.
4. The beginning teacher plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, curriculum goals, and learning and developmental theory.
5. The beginning teacher uses a variety of instructional strategies and appropriate technology to meet students needs.
6. The beginning teacher uses a variety of formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and support the development of the learner.

Course Objectives:
In addition to the UMF Standards for Initial Teacher Certification listed above, this course is intended to address the following objectives:

1. Students will become familiar with an interdisciplinary approach to studying the creative arts.
2. Students will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the value of creative arts in early childhood programs.
3. Students will become knowledgeable about the relations between creative arts and children s development across domains.
4. Students will gain an understanding of the role of the teacher in planning and implementing activities associated with the creative arts.
5. Students will become familiar with developmentally appropriate activities in art, music, movement, and drama that can be used with children ages birth to eight.
6. Students will design and share creative arts curriculum materials with their peers and children.
7. Students will participate in a service learning project, and in so doing use the skills of planning, communicating with the community, implementing, and reflecting.

Course Assignments:
Attendance and Participation: Attendance is an important part of this course because the discussions that take place during class meetings afford students learning opportunities. Additionally, practice in creative arts activities and applications of course material will occur during these times. Therefore, students will earn 1 point for each class attended up to a maximum of 30 points for the term. Students may earn an additional 30 points for participation throughout the semester. Participation includes meaningful and insightful comments pertaining to reading and lecture material, demonstration of understanding and enthusiasm for course content (e.g., engaging in class activities and exercises), and listening respectfully to the instructor and peers.

Examinations: Two exams will be given during the course of the semester. Each exam will be worth 50 points for a total of 100 points possible. Exams will include short answer and essay questions. Students who wish to take an all essay format of the exam should notify me in writing at least one week prior to the exam date.

Portfolio: During the semester, you will present five activities to young children (age range 1 to 8 years of age). You may complete these assignments within practicum if you are currently enrolled, or you will need to make arrangements to participate in an early childhood setting. Activities do not have to be done in the same setting or with the same group of children. You should present at least one of each of the following: art, music/fingerplay, and movement. After each activity, you will write a 3-5 page summary of what occurred. Summaries should be detailed and address these points:<> Setting (physical environment, number and characteristics of the children, time of day, and location of the activity)<> How the activity was presented and implemented (what you said , how you set up the environment, how you engaged the children)<> Description of the activity and children s reactions to it (materials used, children s behavior during the activity, your behavior and language during the activity)<> Conclusions and alterations (what went well, what you would change, what to consider before doing this activity again)All summaries should be included in a portfolio. You may also wish to include activity plans, samples of children s work, photographs of the activity taking place, or other artifacts demonstrating the experience. The portfolio is worth a total of 100 points.

Integrated Unit: Each student will develop an integrated unit focusing on a specific topic, concept, or theme appropriate for an early childhood setting. The theme should be explored in depth and used to facilitate children s development across domains and learning across disciplines with creative arts.

While some class time will be devoted to developing units, you are expected to work regularly on this project outside of class. Each student will give a 10-15 minute presentation of his/her unit and submit a written portfolio explaining the unit and related activities. Presentations will be given during the final weeks of class.

Presentations should include the following:<> Provide an overview/justification of your theme and unit<> Set up an activity for your classmates<> Present the activity as you would to a young child<> Discuss the following with classmates<> Purpose of the activity<> Age and number for which activity is appropriate<> Materials needed<> Variations of the activity (related activities)<> Adaptations for different age groups<> Adaptations for children with special needsThe written portion of the integrated unit should include an introductory letter that justifies the theme of your unit, a thematic web or map, and detailed activity plans for every creative arts activity. Activity plans must include the following:<> Purpose/goal of the activity<> Learning objectives<> Age and number for which activity is appropriate<> Materials needed<> Introduction to the activity<> Description of the activity<> Adaptations for different age groups<> Adaptations for children with special needs<> Related activities/variations of the activity<> Evaluation of the activityThe presentation and paper are worth a total of 150 points.

Service Learning Project: Creative Classes We will hold a series of Creative Classes for children and their parents in the community. This project is intended to address a need in the community: quality programming for young children and their families. Additionally, given the open nature of true creative arts curriculum, children and families can feel free to participate without concern for producing right or wrong products.

While the majority of our class time will be spent discussing various topics related to the creative arts and practicing activities for a creative arts curriculum, a significant portion of each class will be devoted to the service learning project. This project requires your participation throughout the whole semester. It will be a valuable learning experience on several levels: learning about family diversity, seeing firsthand the kind of labor that goes into planning community services, and discovering skills you never knew you had! Most importantly, you will have the chance to apply your learning. The Creative Classes provide you with opportunity to plan and present creative arts projects for young children, thereby further developing your skills with young children and discovering your own strengths and areas in need of improvement as an early childhood educator.

Successful service learning requires collaboration. As a class we will collaborate with various community partners, such as the Community Center, parents groups, UMF Nursery School, and other programs serving young children. We also will collaborate with each other in the following tasks:

    Soliciting donations<> Preparing the environment<> Selecting activities<> Gathering supplies and materials for activities<> Creating information for parents <> Making take me home bags <> Documenting the process throughout the semester (digital photos, videotape, creating a visual presentation, making photographs available to everyone) <> Publicizing the project

Some tasks will require more people than others, so you will be asked to submit your top preferences and will be assigned to a team to accomplish one of the above tasks. Consider your available time, interests and skills as you consider which aspects of the project you could contribute the most. Also, please remember that as a 3-credit course, you are expected to complete approximately 6 hours of work per week outside of class. Your readings and other assignments most likely will take 2 hours each week, leaving approximately 4 hours for you to devote to the service learning project.

You will be asked to sign up to participate in at least 1 Creative Class session. Depending on the needs of community partners, your Creative Class session may be held on a weekend, evening, afternoon, or morning. We will try to schedule Creative Classes at times most convenient for class members.

Your involvement will be a highly notable component to include on your resumes! Additionally, you can use the Creative Classes in preparing your Portfolio assignment, as well as testing various components of your Integrated Unit. At the end of the project, you will write a reflection paper describing the impact this project has had on your personal and professional growth. Details about the reflection paper will be provided in class.

Points to be earned in the service learning project are:

Reflection paper . . . . 45 points
Peer evaluations of your participation . . . . 25 points
My evaluation of your participation . . . . 30 points
Total: 100 points

Attendance . . . . . . . 30 points
Participation . . . . . . . 30 points
Exams . . . . . . . 100 points
Integrated Unit . . . . . . . 150 points
Portfolio . . . . . . . 100 points
Service Learning . . . . . . . 100 points
Total: 510 points

Points achieved will be divided by 510 (total number of points possible) in order to yield a percentage. Letter grades corresponding to percentages are listed below.

A 95 100%
A- 90 94%
B+ 87 89%
B 83 86%
B- 80 82%
C+ 77 79%
C 73 76%
C- 70 72%
D+ 67 69%
D 63 66%
D- 60 62%
F below 60%

Equal educational opportunity is offered to students with special needs due to disability. Please notify me if a reasonable accommodation is needed to meet course requirements. If at any point in the semester you encounter difficulty with the course material or feel you could be performing at a higher level, please visit my office hours or arrange an appointment to meet with me about your concerns.

Course Schedule


T Sept 3 — First Day of Class
Course Introduction
Value of the Expressive Arts

Th Sept 5 — Value of Expressive Arts (continued)

T Sept 10 — Theory behind Creativity
Read Creativity article

Th Sept 12 — Developing Aesthetics. Discuss Creative Classes
Read Aesthetics article
Schedule Creative Classes and groups

T Sept 17 — Visual Arts
Read Visual Arts article

Th Sept 19 — The Reggio Emilia Approach
Read Reggio articles

T Sept 24 — Discuss Creative Classes
Discuss Portfolio Assignment& Documentation
Schedule appointment for Creative Class group to meet with me

Th Sept 26 — Stages of Art Development
Read Art Development chapter

T Oct 1 — The Role of the Teacher in Creative Arts Curriculum
Read Role of Teacher articles
Schedule Review Sessions

Th Oct 3 — Exam 1

T Oct 8 — Webbing/Mapping the Creative Arts Curriculum. Creative Arts and Literature
Read Literature articles
Theme/Focus of unit due

Th Oct 10 — Literature (continued)
Rough draft of web/map due

T Oct 15 — Poetry, Verse, Nursery Rhymes, Music & Literature

Th Oct 17 — Musical Development & Music Instrumentation
Read Music articles

T Oct 22 — Making MusicActivity Planning

Th Oct 24 — Motor Development and Movement/Children s Dance
Read Movement articles
Rough draft of activity plan due

T Oct 29 — Movement and Music
Discuss how to finalize portfolio
Draft of portfolio due
Last day to submit portfolios for feedback prior to grading

Th Oct 31 — Appreciating Cultural Diversity in the Creative Arts Curriculum
Read Diversity articles

T Nov 5 — Adapting Curriculum for Special Needs
Portfolios due

Th Nov 7 — Dramatic Play
Read Dramatic Play articles

T Nov 12 — Storytelling and Puppetry
Read Storytelling and Puppetry articles Schedule Review Sessions

Th Nov 14 — Exam 2

T Nov 19 — Discuss Integrated Units
Schedule Presentations of Integrated Units
Last day to submit Integrated Units prior to grading

Th Nov 21 — Individual Appointments to Discuss Integrated Units

T Nov 26 — Individual Appointments to Discuss Integrated Units

Th Nov 28 — Thanksgiving Break no class

T Dec 3 — Presentations
Integrated Unit Presentations

Th Dec 5 — Presentations
Integrated Unit Presentations
Written Integrated Unit due

T Dec 10 — Presentations
Integrated Unit Presentations

Th Dec 12 — Last Day of Class
Integrated Unit Presentations


Assignments have specific due dates. Five points will be deducted for each day that an assignment is late, and assignments more than 1 week late will not be accepted (except in the case of a university-approved excuse).

An assignment is due on the specified date even if you are absent from class, unless your absence is a university-approved excuse. In the latter case, arrangements should be made with me beforehand concerning an alternative due date.

If classes are cancelled due to weather or some other circumstance, assignments are due on the day the campus is re-opened.

Please note that changes may be made in the course information, syllabus material, due dates, etc. via class announcements. If you miss class, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to secure this information. An e-mail or phone call to me asking What did I miss? is NOT sufficient. You should take the time to confer with a classmate, come to my office hours, or make an appointment with me to discuss these issues.

List of Readings

Abramson, S., Robinson, R., & Anhenman, K. (1995). Project work with diverse students: Adapting curriculum based on the Reggio Emilia approach. Childhood Education (Summer), 197-201.

Barclay, K., & Walwer, L. (1992). Linking lyrics and literacy through song picture books. Young Children (May), 76-85.

Boutte, G., Scoy, I. V., & Hendley, S. (1996). Multicultural and nonsexist prop boxes. Young Children (November), 34-39.

Edwards, Linda (1997). The creative arts: A process approach for teachers and children. Columbus, OH: Merrill Publishing.

Feeney, S., & Moravick, E. (1987). A thing of beauty: Aesthetic development in young children. Young Children (September), 7-15.

Goldhaber, J., Lipson, M., Sortino, S., & Daniels, P. (1996). Books in the sandbox? Markers in the blocks? Expanding the child’s world of literacy. Childhood Education (Winter), 88-91.

Jalongo, M. R. (1990). The child’s right to the expressive arts: Nurturing the imagination as well as the intellect. Childhood Education (Summer), 195-201.

Lamme, L. (1990). Exploring the world of music through picture books. The Reading Teacher (December), 294-300.

McCarthy, J. (1995). Reggio Emilia: What is the message for early childhood education? Contemporary Education, 66 (3), 139-142.

Schirrmacher, R. (1986). Talking with young children about their art. Young Children (July), 3-7.

Sherman, J. (1979). Storytelling with young children. Young Children (January), 20-27.

Smith, C. (1979). Puppetry and problem-solving skills. Young Children (March), 4-11.

Szekely, G. (1990). An introduction to art: Children’s books. Childhood Education (Spring), 132-138.

Vukelich, C. (1990). Where’s the paper? Literacy during dramatic play. Childhood Education (Summer), 205-209.

School: University of Maine at Farmington
Professor: Mellisa A. Clawson, Ph.D.
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