Young Children and the Arts: Supporting Development and Learning from Birth through Five Years of Age

Being a parent or an early childhood educator is demanding work. Providing experiences that will help children develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially has lasting implications both for the child, the family and for society. When children participate in and respond to quality arts activities and experiences, their learning and development is enhanced. Families and educators need tools and resources to help them succeed in providing creative, developmentally appropriate arts experiences. Creative Connections is one such tool. The guidance contained in this document supports parents and early childhood educators by providing helpful information and direction to better understand their children, share in appropriate arts activities, and use creative arts to foster full development of their children.

This document builds upon the pioneering work done by the Arts Education Partnership in recognizing the importance of the arts in children’s development and their understanding of the world. Creative Connections serves as a companion document for Healthy Beginnings: Supporting Development and Learning from Birth through Three Years of Age and includes information for children ages birth through five years.

Creative Connections can be used as a reference guide, or as a resource for planning
arts activities and experiences. Use Creative Connections by first locating the child’s age in months and choosing a developmental area. Use the Indicators (The baby/child may)
to identify Activities (You can) that will support the child in meeting that indicator. Use the Examples (The baby/child might) to determine if the child has met that indicator. You also can determine a starting point by identifying behaviors or actions that a child is already displaying. Once you’ve identified those behaviors or actions, use the Activities and Examples to develop plans that support the child’s progress to the next Indicator. We urge you to use this document to support your child’s development through experiences and activities in the arts.

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