Kathy Danko-McGhee, PH.D. is the owner/director of First Encounters. She is the former Director of Education at the Toledo Museum of Art and led the Museum's efforts to be at the forefront of teaching visual literacy. During her tenure there, Dr. Danko-McGhee was responsible for creating Baby Tours, Toddler Tours, Gallery Gear, and spearheaded the publication of the The Art of Seeing Art: A,B, and See book for preschool children, as well as the Art of Seeing Art for Babies book. Under her leadership, the museum provided many interactive learning experiences in the galleries. Dr. Danko-McGhee was instrumental in bringing the 2014 International Visual Literacy Conference to the Museum.
Previous to her Museum post, she served as a full professor and early childhood art education coordinator at the University of Toledo. During her tenure, Dr. Danko-McGhee conducted research projects in various countries around the world (England, Romania, Australia & New Zealand) studying the aesthetic preferences of babies. She also investigated the aesthetic preferences of toddlers and pre-school children.
Her books - including The Aesthetic Preferences of Young Children (2000) and The Impact of Early Art Experiences on Literacy Development (2007) - have become the basis for early childhood art education programs both here and abroad. She has published numerous journal articles and has presented her research papers nationally and internationally.
The Impact of Early Art Experiences on Literacy Development. Reston, Virginia: National Art Education Association. (Co-authored with Ruslan Slutsky). 2007.
The Aesthetic Preferences of Young Children. New York: Edwin Mellen Press. 2000.
Preparing Pre-service Teachers to Implement Art-Viewing Experiences for Young Children. Art Education. Vol. 74, No. 3. 2021.
Stimulating the Senses: Aesthetic Learning Environments for Babies. International Art in Early Childhood Research Journal, Vol. 1,
No. 1., 2019.
Babes in Arms: The Toledo Museum of Art Reaches Out to the Very Youngest Visitors. Museum. American Alliance of Museums. September/October 2013.
The Aesthetic Delight of Babies: Paintings that Captivate Their Interest. New Zealand Research in Early Childhood Education Journal. Volume 14. 2011.
Judging a Book by Its Cover: Preschool Children's Aesthetic Preferences for Picture Books. International Journal of Education Through Art. Volume 7, Number 2. 2011. (Co-authored with Ruslan Slutsky)
The Aesthetic Preferences of Infants: Pictures of Faces That Captivate Their Interest. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Journal. Volume 11, Number 4. 2010.
The Environment as Third Teacher: The Aesthetic Transformation of an Art Learning Environment for Young Children in a Museum Setting. International Art in Early Childhood Research Journal. University of New England, Armidale, Australia. 2009.
Favorite Artworks Chosen by Young Children in a Museum Setting. International Journal of Education Through Art. Volume 3, Issue 1. London, England. 2006.
Nurturing Aesthetic Awareness in Young Children: Developmentally Appropriate Art Viewing Experiences. Art Education, 59(3). 20-34. 2006.
Partners in Early Childhood Art Experiences: The Museum/University Connection. Art Education. 57(6). 35-40. 2004.
Looking at Art with Toddlers. National Art Education Association Advisory. (Co-authored with Sharon Shaffer) Fall 2004.
Art as Literacy: Exploring the Hundred Languages of Children. Learning Conference Journal. Vol. 10, 2696-2702. (Co-authored with Ruslan Slutsky). 2003.
Preparing Early Childhood Teachers to Use Art in the Classroom: Inspirations from Reggio Emilia. Art Education, 56(4). 12-18. (Co-authored with Ruslan Slutsky). 2003.
Creative Environments. School Arts, 97(5). 20-21. 1999.
Visual Preferences of Mexican Preschool Children for Abstract and Realistic Paintings. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 79, 240-242. 1994.
Visual Preferences of Preschool Children for Abstract and Realistic Paintings. Journal of Perceptual Motor Skills. 76, 155-158. (Co-authored with Chuck Dzuiban) 1993.