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
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