Tapping the Arts to Teach R’s: Arts-Integrated Early Childhood Education

Learning Across the Early Childhood Curriculum

ISBN: 978-1-78190-700-9

ISSN: 0270-4021

Publication date: 28 June 2013


The purpose of this chapter is to examine early childhood arts education as a mechanism for achieving Dewey’s goals of active, integrated learning. The approach is to examine Settlement Music School’s Kaleidoscope Preschool Arts Enrichment Program as a model, reviewing the pedagogical approach and research on program outcomes. Findings are that music, dance, and visual arts can be used to teach skills in language, literacy, science, mathematics, and social/cultural learning. Program outcomes indicate particular benefits for children from racial/ethnic minority groups as well as those with developmental delays. Comparison research documents an overall advantage of Kaleidoscope’s arts-integrated pedagogy for vocabulary growth and emotional functioning. The research is limited in that between-child comparisons have lacked random assignment. Yet within-child experiments and between-child quasi-experiments suggest that arts-integrated education offers advantages for the “whole child.” Practical implications include that early childhood professionals may use the arts to facilitate multimodal learning and emotion regulation, as well as bridge the gap that often separates home from school for children from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds. A social implication is that, although the arts are often viewed as supplemental, they can provide mechanisms for the development of skills in core early learning domains. Additionally, arts integration may offer solutions to the challenges faced by learners from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs. This chapter makes an original and valuable contribution by reviewing both pedagogy and research from Kaleidoscope, providing a compelling model of how Dewey’s goals of active, integrated learning may be realized.



Brown, E. (2013), "Tapping the Arts to Teach R’s: Arts-Integrated Early Childhood Education", Learning Across the Early Childhood Curriculum (Advances in Early Education and Day Care, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 135-151. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0270-4021(2013)0000017011

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