Integrating the Arts in Early Childhood Curriculum

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  • 0:04 Integrating the Arts
  • 0:57 Math & the Arts
  • 1:41 Literacy & the Arts
  • 2:33 Science & the Arts
  • 3:26 Social Studies & the Arts
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ruhi Khan

Ruhi has taught in Elementary Education for 16 years. She currently works as an instructor in higher education and has an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership.

Early childhood education curricula should provide children opportunities to learn in a creative and imaginative way. This lesson provides suggestions for integrating the arts into the content areas of math, literacy, science and social studies.

Integrating the Arts

Integrating the arts involves combining core content areas with visual art, music, drama, and movement to provide children with opportunities to express themselves by way of a creative outlet. This helps children develop critical thinking skills and enhances their communication abilities. Integrating the arts in early childhood education also helps children retain information, as this approach personalizes content and activates the multiple senses at once.

For example, a child may be more apt to remember the four seasons by singing a song, while another child may draw a picture of objects when engaging in counting activities. Yet another child may dance and create letters of the alphabet with his or her body in order to memorize the alphabetical order. These types of learning experiences help young children get excited about learning and make content more meaningful.

Math & the Arts

Integrating the arts into math helps children bring mathematical concepts to life. Early mathematical concepts include identifying common shapes such as a circle, square, and rectangle. To learn these concepts, children can create geometric shapes using their bodies, make collages, and/or listen to songs and poetry about various shapes.

Through these types of activities, students learn to recognize that a triangle has three sides, a rectangle and square both have four sides, and a circle does not have any sides. This reinforces the names of the shapes and associates them with visual representations to enhance retention. These types of opportunities provide children with creative ways to express their developing knowledge of mathematics.

Literacy & the Arts

Integrating the arts in literature is an important part of developing pre-reading skills in early childhood. Examples of pre-reading skills include becoming familiar with books by turning the pages and recognizing that the words and sentences in a book tell a story or provide information. Children can respond to a text using visual art by drawing or painting pictures, or acting out the story.

A popular song, ''The Wheels on the Bus,'' is also available as an illustrated book for young children. Children can sing the song with the teacher while enjoying the illustrations and participating in the actions. This activity includes music, drama, and movement as children act out the song or create illustrations about their favorite parts. These types of learning experiences help children build their understanding of printed texts and how they convey information.

Science & the Arts

Integrating the arts in science helps children explore the word around them. When exposing children to early scientific concepts, the arts help to emphasize discovery. Discovery learning emphasizes that children learn through experimentation in order to understand the concepts being presented. When children make a connection between the arts and sciences, it enhances their natural curiosity and tendency to wonder, explore, observe, and question.

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