I feel better with music: arts-based educational research investigation of curriculum for preschoolers diagnosed with cancer using educational theatre as a learning medium Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Royster, Laura Janelle
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • The purpose of this study was to investigate how an arts-based curriculum produces an educational effect on preschoolers diagnosed with cancer using music and educational theatre as a learning medium. The central research question is: What is the arts-based curriculum affect on critically ill preschool-aged children with cancer? Two important aspects of the primary question include: How does the arts-based curriculum and accompanying tool kit affect children's understanding of disease and treatment information, coping skills, and behavior management techniques, and how do children diagnosed with cancer respond to specific stress-reducing elements? The teacher/artist/researcher investigated using an arts-based educational research methodology including film editing to analyze and interpret curriculum affect from personal perspectives. The study emphasized three children's responses and personal experiences during and after the educational phenomena. The students' ages ranged from four through five years; each child had a different cancer and stress-reduction needs. The film-based dissertation provided the results of the study presented in a visual arts film format with supporting details in the written segment. Due to the short duration, varying lengths in implementation, and small number of subjects, the research provided limited but important preliminary evidence to suggest that children may learn and benefit from stress-reducing techniques provided in the I Feel Better With Music curriculum. Results indicated some affect during implementation of stress-reducing experiences. Results also show positive curriculum effect using music as a self-regulating and learning tool, and as an aid to stress-reduction. However, there was little evidence of learning in other areas of the curriculum, disease and treatment information, coping skills and behavior management. Parents attributed these findings to the children's previous knowledge in part. Thus, parents expressed belief that curriculum implementation at initial diagnosis, instead of during treatment, may offer a more significant impact in the children's understanding of disease and treatment information. In addition, results of the study provided information about how children responded to music-assisted learning techniques and educational theatre as a learning medium. This body of work supports expansion of complex interdisciplinary research including curriculum and instruction, health education, children's educational theatre, music-assisted preschool learning, and arts-based educational research.
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  • Day, Barbara
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