Children, Elders, and Multimodal Arts Curricula: Semiotic Possibilities and the Imperative of Relationship

  • Rachel HeydonEmail author
  • Susan O’Neill
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 12)


This chapter explores the affordances of multimodal curricula and pedagogy within intergenerational learning programs. The aim is to provide an understanding of how semiotic possibilities can be promoted within children’s meaning making and the reciprocity of intergenerational relationships. Drawing on findings from our intergenerational multimodal arts research, we discuss how intergenerational learning programs can provide skipped generations (e.g., young children and elders) with collaborative, systematic, and shared learning opportunities through multimodal arts practice. These opportunities are co-constitutive of multimodal literacies and communal agency, which are of fundamental significance for fostering intergenerational relationships and children’s expansive literacy options (i.e., the ways they have for making meaning of and representing the world) and identity options (i.e., the ways they have for seeing themselves in the world). We present new tools for thinking about and planning multimodal arts and literacy curricula in early childhood education that are responsive to the fast-paced changes in communication technology and capable of promoting literacy practices across the life span in mono- and intergenerational settings.


Intergenerational learning Literacy options Identity options Multimodal arts Technology Communal agency Semiotics Digital art iPad 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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