International Journal of Art & Design Education

An Exploration of Children's Experiences of Art in the Classroom

Volume 33.2   2014



Despite the numerous benefits art has for children, research suggests that there is a lull in the development of expression in children's drawings during the primary school years and that many children give up on art between the ages of 10 and 12. Research investigating this phenomenon has taken an educational focus and aimed to identify potential shortcomings in the primary education system which could impact negatively on children's artistic development and interest in art. This article builds on previous educational research by exploring children's perceptions of the art education they receive. In this small exploratory study semi-structured interviews were conducted with six children in each of the Key Stages of English compulsory education: Key Stage 1 (5–6 year olds); Key Stage 2 (7–8 year olds); Key Stage 3 (11–12 year olds) and Key Stage 4 (14–15 year olds). A qualitative thematic analysis is used to explore children's experiences of art in the classroom, the kinds of support they receive in art lessons and how art lessons can be improved. It is hoped that the exploration of children's experiences of art in the classroom will enable movement towards an engaging and relevant approach to art education.