SUNY Professor Publishes Children’s Creativity Study

NEW PALTZ — Margaret H. Johnson, an associate professor of art education at SUNY New Paltz, has co-authored a new book, The Colors of Learning: Integrating the Visual Arts into the Early Childhood Curriculum (Teachers College Press), heralded as an important contribution to current thinking about child development.

Image available at on standards endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Art Education Association, The Colors of Learning proceeds from the thesis that art education is essential to an early childhood curriculum.

Johnson and her co-authors, Rosemary Althouse and Sharon T. Mitchell, show teachers how to move away from encouraging students to make art designed to please adults, and toward a more individual exploration for each child.

The Colors of Learning supplements theoretical background and evolving ideas about early childhood education with concrete suggestions for teachers and quotations from actual classroom dialogue between educators and their young pupils. It is illustrated with color reprints of children’s artwork progressing through various developmental stages.

Ann Lovett, interim dean of SUNY’s School of Fine and Performing Arts, calls The Colors of Learning an important contribution to pedagogy. “At this time, when schools are under great pressure to measure up to externally imposed standards, many public schools are teaching our children that art is something “extra” rather than fundamental to life. The Colors of Learning makes a thoughtful, compelling case for integrating arts into all areas of the early childhood curriculum. I envision a much more arts-literate public as a result.”

Dr. Johnson began her career as a public school art teacher in New Hampshire and earned a doctorate in art education at Florida State University. In 1995, she was honored with a National Art Education Association award for Art Educator of the Year. She joined SUNY New Paltz in 2001, where she is the Art Education Program Director.

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-30- The State University of New York at New Paltz is an institution of nearly 8,000 students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley halfway between New York City and Albany. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, healthcare, business and engineering.

More information about SUNY New Paltz is available online at