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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The "Mark-Making Book" : catalyst supporting parental involvement in Art Education in early childhood Pisichko, Maria


Adult involvement in a young child's artistic learning as an area of study is only beginning to unfold. The intent of this thesis is to lend support to this trend of thought by exploring the "mark-making book" as a catalyst for parental involvement in art education in early childhood. Specifically , it is concerned with examining the role of the "mark-making book" as a link supporting a young child's artistic learning within the school and the home. The "mark-making book" is a sketchbook/scrapbook concept that allows for independent use on the part of the child and guided learning mediated by the parent. It is grounded in social constructivist theory, drawing upon the work of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky and his perspectives on the value of adult interaction, tools, play, and the role of affect in motivation. The research addresses the following questions: 1. How do the parents use the "mark-making book" in the home environment? 2. What are the parental attitudes toward the "mark-making book" experience? 3. How do these attitudes evolve as a result of active engagement over a period of time? 4. What value do parents attribute to the ideas of active involvement in their child's artistic learning? Exploratory descriptive research in the form of multiple cross-case study analysis was used for the purposes of this investigation. The teacher as "investigator" conducted two sets of audio-taped interviews with eight participating parents, whose four year old children attended a nursery program at an inner-city school in Winnipeg. The data resulting from these interviews gives evidence of favourable parental support towards the "mark-making book" concept. Parents also indicated that as they participated in its use with their child, they reflected on their childhood memories and educational experiences, then drew comparisons with the learning experiences associated with school and home use of the mark-making book. Three themes emerged as the result of studying parental and child involvement with the mark-making book. Enjoyment, self-development and understanding are the essence of the mark-making book experience. The study was further supplemented with data collected from parent-teacher interviews at the start of the academic year, field notes collected during in-class use of the mark-making books, parent comment sheets, as well as informal conversations with parents in school hallways and during home visitation . Reflective journals and photo journals were used to document mark-making book activity within the school environment. The study concludes that the mark-making book serves as a manageable and effective means of addressing the needs of both parents and children in terms of their affective, cognitive and artistic learning. These favourable results should encourage further research into mark-making book use, both within the school and the home environments.

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