Volume 18 Number 30 August 25, 2017

Young Children’s Responses to Artworks: The Eye, the Mind, and the Body

Jacqueline Lye Wai Yu
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Susan Kay Wright
University of Melbourne, Australia

Citation: Lye, J. W. Y., Garces-Bacsal, R. M., & Wright, S. K. (2017). Young children’s responses to artworks: The eye, the mind, and the body. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 18(30). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v18n30/.


This study investigates young children’s responses to viewing artworks in a preschool setting. Based on the responses of 15 children aged five to six years during five art viewing sessions in a preschool in Singapore, the study examines features of what young children see, think and feel when they view artworks. These sessions were facilitated by their class teacher using techniques from Visual Thinking Strategies. The data obtained from the children’s responses were analysed qualitatively using Grounded Theory. The findings revealed that children respond to artworks visually, cognitively and somatically, in that they talk about what they see, think and feel. The children’s comments featured content, formal art elements, personal connections, creativity and imagination, affect and vocalisms, with personal connections making up two-thirds of their responses. This study highlights the rich experiences that young children gain from viewing artworks and the importance of including art viewing into the early childhood art curriculum.

Visual Abstract

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