Assessing development in and through visual arts : case studies of five Hong Kong preschoolers
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Facing the request on school quality assurance requested by the Hong Kong Education Bureau, the children’s development is one of the four domains in assessing the quality of a pre-primary institution. However, assessing young children’s aesthetic performance is regarded as a difficult task. This thesis aims to investigate what young children’s development is in and through the visual arts, and how it can be assessed. It also aims to examine the validity of the Hong Kong Performance Indicators (Pre-primary Institutions): Domain on Children’s Development in assessing children’s development in visual arts by comparing with the findings found. This qualitative research assumes that children’s development is individualized and holistic, not limits in aesthetic and creative areas in the visual arts activities, but also includes the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and cultural areas reflected in portfolios. The assumption on holistic child development in visual arts is supported by Lowenfeld (1957), Fox and Schirrmacher (2012). Case study on five four-year-old children was conducted for seven months in an early childhood institution. Direct observation on a 30-minute visual arts activity was recorded weekly in digital format. The data were analyzed and categorized in a form of electronic portfolio, served as evidences of the children’s development. The children’s various areas of development were presented with reference of assessment frameworks suggested by Lowenfeld, Fox and Schirrmacher. Different growth rates and patterns of children’s development are found among the five children. And, the portfolio assessment can be regarded as one of the appropriate method for assessing aesthetic development as well as development in other aspects in early childhood settings. The study is the first in-depth research in assessing pre-school young children’s development in and through visual arts activities in Hong Kong. It may serve as a reference for preschool teachers in assessing children’s holistic development in and though visual arts, as well as a study on the validity of the Hong Kong Performance Indicators on children’s aesthetic development (EMB & SWD 2003).
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