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RIC professor Christine Mulcahey authors book on childhood art education


Christine Mulcahey
Christine Mulcahey, professor at RIC’s Henry Barnard School, is the author of “The Story in the Picture: Inquiry and Artmaking with Young Children” published by Teachers College Press in September.

Mulcahey, an art specialist who teaches children from preschool to fifth grade, wrote the book to educate early childhood teachers and caregivers about the value of exposing young children to the visual arts and the discoveries they provide. She believes these discoveries are central to the education of young children, but that teacher preparation in this area is minimal.

In “The Story in the Picture,” she looks at the works of various artists and the ways teachers can use the art in conversations and to foster creativity in their students.


Mulcahey demonstrates in the book the effectiveness of using fine art reproductions in early childhood curriculum, which, she says, “help children understand diversity, strengthens critical thinking skills, allows children to share personal experiences, and encourages storytelling – all important life-long skills.”

Added Mulcahey: “Children learn that all artists see things differently, and that they, as well, see things differently because of their prior experiences and backgrounds.”

The book also includes lesson ideas, open-ended art activities, and art concepts for children according to their developmental readiness.

"This book has the capacity to have a profound impact on how art is viewed by educators by changing the art experience from one of insignificance to one that contributes greatly to the cognitive growth of the child,” according to Sharon Shaffer, executive director of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center.

The foreword was written by Maxine Greene, a teacher and author prominent in the fields of educational philosophy, literature and the arts.

“The Story in the Picture” is available at Teachers College Press, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Press release