The role of drawing and artful engagement in early childhood education: co-constructing meaning as curriculum

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Cameron, Cheryl M.
The arts in early childhood education and care (ECEC) have in the past been treated as a separate subject understood simply as crafts or activities to occupy children. Through arts-based research with children in the field, this paper looks to expand upon notions of artful engagement as a social practice (Kind, 2014). Artful engagement in the early years is understood as a way of thinking with materials and artistic sensibilities in relationship with dynamic learning processes (Kind & Argent, 2020). The findings in this paper are based on a four-month qualitative research study in a licensed childcare center on Vancouver Island. Artful processes are considered through weekly engagement with drawing, movement, and photography with toddlers. Documentation is offered to illustrate the process of co-constructing knowledge (BC Ministry of Education, 2019, Berger, 2015). Narratives derived from the research offer considerations for the co-construction of meaning and curriculum, made possible through the work of pedagogical documentation (ECEBC, 2021). Dispositions of early childhood educators as co-learners with children are examined and offer alternate narratives of ECEC practice.
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