Creating a Critical Multiliteracies Curriculum: Repositioning Art in the Early Childhood Classroom

  • Linda K. CraftonEmail author
  • Penny Silvers
  • Mary Brennan
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 12)


Traditional early childhood curricula tend to separate the arts and literacy as different meaning-making systems. However, current multiliteracies theory and practice suggests that a broader view of literacy and learning is necessary for twenty-first-century living. The notion of multiliteracies allows us to expand not only our definition of literacy from traditional print views to digital ones but also promotes broader understandings of the arts as semiotic systems integral to meaning-making. More importantly, multiliteracies theory moves educators from a curriculum-as-neutral stance to a critical pedagogy stance that encourages young learners to take on a social justice identity from the start. This chapter features the critical multiliteracies research and practice of one teacher and two university educators researching in a first-grade classroom over several years. An extended curricular example illustrates how art can be repositioned in the early childhood instruction and curriculum to become an integral component of critical multimodal learning. The chapter shows how young children move seamlessly in and out of curricular engagements based on their interests and multimodal needs necessary for functioning in their classroom and the world beyond.


Multiliteracies Emergent literacy Early literacy Critical literacy Multimodal learning Semiotics Visual literacy Identity construction Transmediation Social justice Text set 



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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-ParksideKenoshaUSA
  2. 2.Dominican UniversityRiver ForestUSA

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