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Christian Service News

Issue 38 (Jan 2003) HKCS Main Page
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Topic : Opinion Feedback

Arts Education Should Begin at the Pre-school Stage

According to our study 'The Quality of Pre-School Education' in May 2002, one of the major findings is that Arts is most ignored by parents. To follow up in this finding, we have conducted an 'Exploratory Study on the Situation of Arts Education for Pre-School Children in Hong Kong' in November 2002.

From the feedback of 20 Arts related professional organizations, it is found that although they have a mission in providing Arts education for pre-school children, they face problems such as lack of appropriate venues, insufficient support from the government, and lack of resources. On the other hand, according to our examination of 59 public venues for Arts performance, it is found that only 2 venues have facilities specially designed for pre-school children. Moreover, our experience shows that when the pre-school children are paying visits to these venues such as museums, exhibition halls, or performing halls, they are not treated as 'proper' customers. For instance, exhibitions are usually placed at a level much higher than the eye level of small children; and when there are crowds of visitors, the small children are always asked to give way and not to 'obstruct' passages of the halls.

We suggest that the rights and interests of pre-school children in enjoying Arts should be recognized. To be specific, exhibitions and performing venues should be designed using the 'Universal Design' concept, which provides user-friendly facilities to small children. In addition, the government should pay more emphasis and recognition on the need of pre-school children in Arts education. Another area to be reinforced is to enhance the collaboration between Arts professional bodies and pre-school education institutions; and that requires more efforts to be placed on the training for pre-school teachers and professional artists. Moreover, the government may take reference to the USA in encouraging Pre-School education institutions to include Arts Education as one of the core elements of their curriculum. In the USA, according to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Arts Education should be recognized as a Core Academic Subject of all schools, including pre-school institutions.

In summary, we strongly urge that arts education begins at the pre-school stage for it can bring a significant impact on children for a life-long interest on arts.

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