Mythology in Kindergarten (PDF)

Aleksandra Rotar

Aleksandra Rotar


Mythology in Kindergarten


The first presentation of the paper was at the 16th INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE: MATE DEMARIN DAYS, “The Social and Humanist Determinants of Education", The Faculty of Educational Sciences, Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, 27th and 28th April 2017.

The second presentation of the work was at the ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM OF THE CROATIAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, “Philosophy and Creativity”, the Croatian Philosophical Society and the Faculty of Teacher Education, Zagreb, 13th to 15th December 2018.


The "Mythology" project was conducted in cooperation with third year students of Pre-school Education, from the Faculty of Education and Training of the Juraj Dobrila University in Pula, children from Pula Kindergarten, and the Pula City Library and Reading Room. This study describes three different ways of conducting art activities, using three different artistic techniques. Examples are shown of motivating children for art activities using changeable drawings on an overhead projector, motivating children using a glove puppet, telling a story, two sculptures and a poster in the introduction, and motivating children through an actress and listening to recorded speech. The project integrates art, classical music, puppetry, scenography, nature and society, drama and literature.

Key words: project, methodology of art education, mythology, creativity. 


The concept of project work stems from the philosopher John Dewey, and has been used in the United States of America since the 1960's. In many of Dewey's studies a concept is mentioned which is close to today's project work (Slunjski, 2001). Dewey in particular dealt with education theory, and underlined the unity of the moral and educational process. He believed that the educational process is life itself, and not just preparation for life. He believed that school should reproduce life and that children need to be prepared for life. Precisely school must reproduce the life of society, according to the model “Art as Experience” (1934).1 The professor emeritus and academy artist Vera Kos Paliska, a methodologist, and a retired lecturer from the Juraj Dobrila University in Pula, worked for a long time on projects with the art historian and museum educator Ljubica Širec, who was until recently employed by the Archaeological Museum of Istria, but who has since retired. During the Homeland War and after it they laid the foundations and paved the way for museum education in Pula, with pre-school children, primary school pupils and students, and teacher training students.

Professor Vera Kos Paliska chose the teacher Mirjana Kalčić to work with her on projects using art in pre-school education, over the course of several decades. For every art activity which was part of the course in the methodology of teaching art, an outing was organized for children, teachers and students of pre-school education to the permanent collection in the exhibition halls of the Archaeological Museum of Istria (AMI) in Pula. Children were given the opportunity to examine original artefacts there and touch stone monuments, sculptures and reliefs from the great and highly developed cultures (the tactile method), to increase their motivation and memory. Original artefacts were used, dating from pre-history to the Middle Ages. The children expressed their experiences using previously prepared artistic materials, which was a particularly valuable experience. Whilst attending lectures given by Professor Kos I became familiar with the concept of project work with preschool children, aged from 3 to 7 years and in mixed groups. Starting partially from her examples from the methodology of art and museum education, I continued to work on my own project, adapted to my own situation. I added the use of puppets, and experimented with puppets and classical music, played to the children for a few minutes (up to 10 minutes) in their physical education facilities. Children listened to the music lying on mats, with their eyes closed. The music was also played in situ using original instruments. Since thorough construction work has been going on at AMI over recent years, the projects were conducted in the rooms of many kindergartens in Pula.

Children from Tratinčica (Daisy) Kindergarten from the Central Regional Unit of Pula Kindergarten took part in the projects described in this paper, which were used as teaching practice by the Education and Training Department of Juraj Dobrila University in Pula.1 These children later very easily mastered the subject matter of Nature and Society in lower grades of school, and History in later grades of elementary school. The foundations had been laid for their later successful progress. The teacher Mirjana Kalčić, who took part in the project, was a history graduate but had by chance spent her entire working life in a kindergarten. This fact contributed to the success of the project, but it is not a requirement for running it successfully. The compatibility of Kalčič and myself as a methodologist, was extremely important.


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