chapter  6
13 Pages

Mapping Settler Colonialism and Early Childhood Art

ByVanessa Clark

Art plays an important role in early childhood education in North America (McArdle and Boldt, 2013). Early childhood art pedagogies, inspired in large part by the infant, toddler, and preschool programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy, foreground art as a medium for children’s learning, thinking, and communicative languages. Within these art pedagogies, much attention is focused on environments and materials. A growing body of Eurowestern literature suggests that materials should be “nurturing”, “soft”, and “relational” (Ceppi and Zini, 1998; Curtis and Carter, 2007; Greenman, 1988). Beauty, too, is identified as an important consideration in selecting materials for children (Ceppi and Zini, 1998; Topal and Gandini, 1999) and “natural” materials are desirable as a marker of “quality” early childhood education environments (Carter and Curtis, 2003; Cavallini, Filippini, Vecchi, and Trancossi, 2011). Indeed, materials and environments are so prominent in the early childhood education classroom that Gandini (1998) regards them as a “third teacher” (p. 77) that shapes child and adult roles within the space and directs what children can and cannot do and learn.