Discussing art in the early childhood classroom : an action research study in professional development
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This study uses an action research methodology to create, implement, evaluate, and improve a professional development workshop for early childhood educators. The purpose of the workshop was to provide training in art education for practicing teachers in a childcare center. The workshop was intended to enable teachers to lead art discussions in the early childhood classroom derived from museum education teaching strategies. As a museum educator and early childhood teacher, the researcher was compelled to develop the workshop based on her experience in the field. Realizing that professional development opportunities in art education topics other than art making are not readily available to educators, the researcher used the existing, state mandated annual training requirement to address this void in early childhood teacher education. The learning potential within art discussions is addressed to make a case for the inclusion of these teaching strategies in early childhood classrooms. The findings of this study identify successful elements of professional development workshops for early childhood educators and make suggestions for other teacher-educators designing and leading such workshops.