Pataky, Gabriella

Part of the InSEA conference 2018 in Helsinki.

“Don’t touch!” This brutal intervention into the freedom of personal expression of young children is often heard. Has anyone actually counted the number of times the child hears that expression before s/he begins her/his schooling? Even without statistics it’s foreseeable that, without independent activity and making her/his own experience, the development of the child’s personality will be hindered. We have to establish the secure and inspiring creative environment necessary for the attainment of visual education. Learning exercises are created with an understanding of the characteristics of this age group and of the particular children or pupil groups at the educational institutions. In practice, however, we see that instead of consciously planned assignments geared towards the competencies to be developed, what is taking place is activities convenient for the adults, most often spread through social media. Parallel to the development of the CEFR_VL prototype, its study of kindergartners (Pataky, 2017) was at the same time a test of the practical applicability of the model. Our results clearly indicated where intervention is most urgent: while visual communication and visual learning today play a more and more decisive role in a world undergoing constant change, today’s children show a deterioration in the development of their visual abilities over the last forty years. What kind of development is necessary during the first years of organized schooling in order to optimally expand children’s visual knowledge? The workshop takes the research results as its starting point and uses diverse interactive methods to seek answers to the particular questions of visual education for young children, while surveying what possibilities are contained in the toolbox offered by the CEFR_VL model that can aid the awareness of the planning of pedagogical processes for early childhood educators (kindergarten and elementary school teachers) who (also) teach visual arts.

The ENViL Workshop pursues one of the new objectives of InSEA: to offer support to early childhood educators to get to know the most up-to-date trends in visual education (“Education through Art”). Kindergarten teachers, preschool teachers, elementary/primary school teachers, generalist teachers and in-service teachers all teach passionate art in their everyday lives, but this work is not represented enough in art teacher associations, which need more help to develop themselves, especially in relation to the new concepts of early childhood education and elementary schools in Europe, which propose a complex, transdisciplinary, competence-based curriculum.