International Journal of Art & Design Education

Primary Children's Understanding of Early Modern Artists' Concepts

Volume 14.3   1995



This paper reports on the first three weeks of a piece of classroom action research that took place over a period of eight weeks. It involved three primary classes: 5 year olds, 7/8 year olds and 11 year olds. The research was carried out in two contrasting settings: inner city Toxteth, Liverpool, with two classes of 5 and 11 year olds, and a leafy suburban setting in Cheshire, with one class of 7/8 year olds. The research sought answers to the following questions: Can young children understand some aspects of the concepts that inform modern art? Could that understanding be used to bring about cognitive development in their artwork? How are the developmental differences between 5, 7/8, and 11 year olds demonstrated? Do inner-city children perform less well than suburban children in art? Could each child's learning be assessed in art? For reasons of brevity this paper gives evidence of the 5 and 11 year old children's work and reports on the 7/8 year olds response in the conclusion.