Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Claire Dolomb

Second Advisor

Delores Gallo

Third Advisor

Steven Schwartz


Though children's aesthetic sensitivity has been explored quite extensively in recent years, studies of this subject have been confined to children's response to adult art. In this study two sets of stimulus materials were devised, which enabled the examiner to elicit children's responses to their own artistic productions, as well as those of other children of similar age. The subjects in this first study were kindergarten children, 5-6 years old, who were interviewed individually about their own artistic productions and the media they employed in creating them. The second study extended the age range to include students from kindergarten through second grade, ages 5-8, and employed a set of stimulus materials representing the art work of children 5-9 years of age. Subjects were interviewed individually by the examiner and questions were devised to elicit response to a variety of aesthetic considerations. Students in both groups showed evidence of aesthetic sensitivity in their preferences, in critical comments and in their awareness of the developmental nature of art. Children in the first study, which employed both production and perception tasks, displayed greater enthusiasm as well as greater sensitivity to aesthetic elements. Both studies identified a strong cognitive-developmental component in aesthetic responding, evident not only in children's changing views and responses, but in their awareness of skills and abilities. Children gave evidence of reflection, interest, and a dialogue between production and perception. The studies confirm the presence of, and the developmental nature of aesthetic awareness in young children.