About The Author 

Cathy Weisman Topal has been a visual arts educator at the pre-school, elementary, middle school and college levels for over twenty-five years. She is currently a studio art teacher at the Center for Early Childhood Education and the Smith College Campus School at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She is also a lecturer in Visual Arts Education in the Department of Education and Child Study at Smith College.

Cathy is the author of five books that have grown from her explorations and exchanges with children, classroom teachers and in-service and pre-service teachers across the country. Inquiries about workshops can be sent to: ctopal@email.smith.edu

Explorations in Art: Kindergarten, Cathy Weisman Topal, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA c. 2008

                Kindergarten is different, and we know it!

Explorations in Art: Kindergarten is part of a new K- 5 visual arts curriculum series from Davis Publications, Inc. Explorations in Art: Kindergarten features a Big Book and Teachers Edition.  Sample pages of the Big Book and Teacher's Edition are shown above. 

Explorations in Art Kindergarten combines a solid foundation in how to use tools and studio art materials with the delight of exploring, developing skills and inventing new ways to create.  Sections of each of Cathy Topal's books are featured in this new program.

Thinking with a Line, Cathy Weisman Topal, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA, c. 2005, 80 pages Code #691-1


Children delight in discovering that they can create designs, patterns and complex structures by printing with small cardbaord rectangles dipped in paint. The interactive CD-ROM presents all the lessons as well as the author modeling these lessons in the classroom. The Teacher's Guide is a handy classroom reference for both children and teachers. This innovative approach program provides an effective and developmentally appropriate approach to increasing visual learning, motor skills, language development and critical thinking.

NEW!!! Classroom Sets of Reusable Line Printing Tools containing: 25 large line tools 3" x 2 1/2" and

25 small line tools:  1 1/2" x 2 1/2" are now available from Davis Publications.

Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials, co-authored with Lella Gandini, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA, c.1999
96 pages Code #388-2

Click here to order!  
A study tour to the pre-primary schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy in 1990 changed my thinking about teaching and about the role of the visual arts in education. After many years of teaching, study, and exchange, Lella Gandini, liaison for the Reggio Emilia Approach in the United States, and I wrote the book, Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials, as a guide to help teachers with limited resources understand ways to foster meaningful experiences between young children and materials. Many of the methods and beliefs discussed in Beautiful Stuff were inspired by educators from Reggio Emilia, Italy and by the exhibition, "The Hundred Languages of Children."

Children and Painting, Davis Publications, Inc. Worcester, MA, c. 1992
160 pages Code 241-X

Discover the excitement of painting with children! From basic painting techniques to thematic approaches, many proven strategies are illustrated here. You'll be able to integrate warm-up exercises, activities and step-by-step instructions easily into your curriculum. You'll help students develop visual awareness, learn the elements of design, and respond thoughtfully to their own work and to the work of other artists.

Children, Clay and Sculpture, Davis Publications, Inc. Worcester, MA, c. 1983
128 pages Code #145-6

Use clay confidently with young children! Traditional hand-building techniques are explained through photographs and diagrams. Individual and group activities are presented, along with strategies for adapting them to any schedule constraints. Finished fine art sculpture examples provide ways to introduce the contributions of many artists and cultures.
I Am Clay book cover
 See Kathleen Bailer's new DVD for a glimpse inside Cathy Topal's kindergarten classes.    You will watch children as they figure out how to construct animals from clay. You will also learn about the importance of using clay in the early childhood classroom.