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Publisher releases UHV professor's book on art in elementary education

Nov. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.

Cengage Learning recently upgraded  the eighth edition of "Art and Creative Development for Young Children" by Jill Fox.

University of Houston-Victoria professor Jill Fox is winning acclaim for the latest edition of her textbook on art in education.

Cengage Learning upgraded the book, the eighth edition of "Art and Creative Development for Young Children," to its AAA rating, meaning the book is one of the publisher's bestsellers.

A 400-page comprehensive resource, the textbook gives guidance for implementing a developmentally appropriate art program for preschool through third grade. It is used primarily in college classes to train future elementary school homeroom and art teachers and also serves as a resource for school libraries.

With a child-directed approach, the book addresses such topics as art and the developing child, special needs and diversity, brain research and children's artistic development.

Fox is a professor of early childhood education and director of assessment for the UHV Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

"One especially neat feature of this edition is the number of vignettes that are based on actual classroom experiences," Fox said. "Many times, there is a disconnect between teacher training and the real classroom, so the vignettes help prepare readers for teaching in real classrooms. It gives them a realistic picture of their challenges."

Also distinctive of this edition is that each chapter features a lesson plan that integrates art with the academic subjects of language arts, social studies, math and science to help teachers incorporate art into the core curriculum, Fox said.

The new edition also includes historical perspectives about art in education with information about the role of the arts in the first kindergartens in Germany in the 1850s, Montessori programs and early 20th-century elementary schools.

"Right now, with the focus on academics in public schools, the arts are being neglected," Fox said. "So I wanted to show that art has historically been a part of quality educational experiences for young children since the 19th century."

The new edition also features an article about play therapy written by Elsa Leggett, an associate professor of counseling education at UHV.

Before earning her doctorate in early childhood education, Fox taught kindergarten and first grade in Texas public schools for eight years.

"Dr. Fox is one of the nation's most recognized authorities on art in education, and that's a subject of great importance to the development of children," said Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education and Human Development. "As this book's popularity attests, art is finally becoming more widely recognized for its educational and therapeutic value for children."

Though not available for sale until Jan. 1, the book is now listed on Amazon.com and Cengage.com and will be available in university bookstores for campuses where the book is used for college-level classes.

The Internet and electronic media have revolutionized college textbook publishing since the first edition of the series was published in 1993, Fox said, noting that future editions will have an increasing online presence. Right now, it is a hardcopy book with an online component.

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