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This paper has been commissioned by Arts Council Ireland to inform the development of a national strategy for early childhood arts in Ireland. The paper is based on contemporary thinking and knowledge of child psychology, early learning and development and childhood studies, in particular the theoretical principles and pedagogical approaches to early childhood art-based learning. It begins with an exploration of the concept of pedagogy. International research on the importance of effective pedagogy in early childhood education and care (ECEC) is then discussed setting out the evidence and rationale for public policy attention to the area of the arts in early childhood. Pedagogical organisation or framing is then considered along with the underpinning concepts of supporting children’s creativity, thinking and language relevant to the practice of early childhood arts. The importance of interactions between novices and experts (adults and learners) is highlighted throughout and specific interaction strategies thought to enhance children’s learning are identified. The principles underpinning early learning and development in relation to how children learn are then outlined. Finally, drawing in part from the literature on effective pedagogy, and the principles underpinning early childhood education, contemporary perspectives on children and those who work with very young children (incorporating both early childhood artists and early childhood educators) are presented.
French, G. The Place of the Arts in Early Childhood Learning and Development. Commissioned paper from the Arts Council, Ireland, July 2013.