Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Art? It's Importance for Children

That was the scene in our driveway this past weekend. Squish rose at 5:45am {those are totally my favorite mornings. Sleep is for suckers} and Munch quickly followed shortly after 6. By 7:30am we were covered in paint. {Non-washable...what the heck was I should see our shower floor...}

At first I was all, puh-leeease don't get the paint on your clothes! Only on the paper! Not the driveway! Ok ok clothes are alright just not your sister! And soon I was thinking....who cares? Will this matter a year from now? {That is the key question I ask myself when I feel like I'm not in "control" of what is going on...aka they are doing something I'd prefer them not to...but does it REALLY matter? Nah, not usually, so I can chill out a bit} and soon enough, I was drawing a massive red heart on Miss Munch's tummy button.

It got me thinking about how much I LOVE art - not only admiring it, but creating it. Halfway through high school I gave up my beloved field hockey and soccer to focus solely on art. I certainly missed sports, but I loved being in the art room. I wish I had more time to paint and draw these days!! As these thoughts were running through my head - while I was mindlessly browsing Pinterest learning about all sorts of crafts I'd never do ;) - I came across an article that was posted entitled, 10 Ways Art is Fundamental to Education, by Jean Van't Hul:
  • {1}Art helps children develop fine motor skills as they use their hands and minds to draw, paint and sculpt. 
  • {2} Art teaches children about cause and effect. 'What happens when I mix blue and yellow?' 
  • {3} Scribbling and drawing form the foundation for later literacy. As young children progress through the states of scribbling, they learn to make all the shapes in the letters of the alphabet. I still have trouble with G. That's a doozie. 
  • {4} Art helps children develop problem-solving abilities as they explore new ways to use art materials. 'How can I build this sculpture taller without it falling down?' 
  • {5} Art is one of the languages of the world. We live in a visual society in which much of what we interact with and learn from has to be decoded visually. Art can be an effective tool for learning about other school subjects (just as verbal and written languages can be ways to learn) 
  • {6} Open-ended art is linked to creativity. The ability to think in new ways and to create something new is an especially important skill for the 21st century. 
  • {7} Art gives children a voice and allows them to communicate what they are thinking or feeling in a safe way. 
  • {8} Art helps hone spatial skills, including an understanding of pattern and shapes, which are important in math and other areas of learning. 
  • {9} Art encourages observational skills and helps children to notice details in the world around them. 
  • {10} Art is fun. A child who is having fun is an engaged and happy child, which in turn helps him to learn better. 
Now, of course art is not the only way to tick all of those boxes, but it certainly is a fun way! {We speak from experience} What are your favorite art projects to do, alone or with your children?