Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr Collette Tayler

Second Advisor

Anthony Monk


Literature dealing with aesthetics and young children indicates the importance of developing in children a degree of aesthetic sensitivity and an ability to respond aesthetically to both natural and man made objects. However, directions for developing young children's aesthetic awareness appear to be hampered by the lack of systematic research evidence on the aesthetic response capabilities which five to eight year old children display. Thus, provision of information that would assist art educators and Early Childhood teachers in the preparation of successful classroom experiences remains a priority in this area. The research study reported in this thesis investigated the aesthetic response capabilities of the kindergarten to year three child. Particular attention was given to the children's preferences for and perceptions of visual artworks. Responses made by the children to two painting reproductions were used as indications of what the children saw in the paintings and which aspects of the paintings they preferred. Data collection and analysis was structured r. round particular topics dealing with elements of a painting. These were drawn from Parsons, Johnston and Durham (1978) and included subject matter, feelings, colour, the artist's properties and judgement. The results of this study confirmed that young children are capable of responding aesthetically to visual artworks and that these responses have certain characteristics. A strong preference for subject matter and colour, for example, was evident In the children's responses. In this sense, the present study supports findings of other researchers such as Parsons, Johnston and Durham (1978), Rosentiel, Morison, Silverman and Gardner (1978), and Parsons (1987). The ability to respond aesthetically has implications for developing early childhood programmes including those which encourage young children to respond verbally to works of art in addition to creating them. Evidence of the five year old child possessing aesthetic response abilities also implies that these programmes can begin at the kindergarten level and thua assist in laying the foundations for the further development of aesthetic sensitivity throughout the primacy years.

Included in

Art Education Commons