The research started from the assumption that the\ud point of including art in education is to develop\ud children's understanding of this subject. Its purpose is\ud to consider certain theoretical and practical contexts\ud through which this aim might be helped or hindered. The\ud thesis examines the proposition that in order for young\ud children to begin to understand and develop their work in\ud art it Is necessary for their teacher to be able to put\ud them in touch with the basic structure (formal elements,\ud materials and processes) of the subject.\ud How this might be achieved in practice is analysed in\ud a report of a project carried out by the author with her\ud class of children aged five and six years. Its purpose was\ud to find out whether the children could talk about formal\ud elements, materials and process as well as the content of\ud their pictures in a way which would develop their\ud understanding of art. Teaching and learning were guided by\ud the twentieth century concept of art which emphasises its\ud formal elements and physicality. Analysis of five\ud activities and of individual children's work shows that\ud unexpected developments in picture-making occurred; that\ud the children's activities helped them to talk about a\ud picture by H. Matisse (1953); and that some children had\ud developed an understanding of their work in art. On this\ud basis it is found that 1) it is possible to put young\ud children in touch with the structure of the subject in a\ud way which develops their understanding; 2) children can be helped to appreciate the work of others through an\ud understanding of their own work. This finding may be\ud useful to other teachers in providing a practical link\ud between Ati and At2 of Art in the National Curriculum
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