There’s something special about art. While you can learn lengthy formulas of science, master the logic of mathematics, and grasp the intricacies of grammar, art is a whole different species of self-expression and learning.
“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind- creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people- artists, inventors, designers, and big picture thinkers will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”
– Daniel Pink, author of ‘A Whole New Mind’
Art gives our children an opportunity to communicate their deepest thoughts, experiences and emotions. Just the act of creating and getting messy can be extremely cathartic for any person – so try not to restrict your child’s art to colouring neatly within the lines in a colouring book.
Most of us instinctually know that art is important for our children, but we don’t really know the facts that back this up. Through art activities, children develop all sorts of important life skills, gain confidence in self-expression, and cultivate the creative right side of their brains. Yes, art definitely matters!
One of the ways to expose your child to the wonders of art is to sign him up for an art class, where he’ll not just have hands-on practice with various mediums, but also learn various techniques and facts about the world in the process. Plus, an added bonus is you won’t have to manage the cleaning up! Still not convinced? Here are 5 reasons for you to consider:
#1 Builds communication skills
Even before your preschooler can string together elaborate sentences or read a book, he is already able to communicate visually, by drawing a picture, molding clay or making handprints. While his art might look rather abstract (pre-representational) at first, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a real and important message behind it. He might “release” feelings of joy or sadness through his art, because he just doesn’t have the vocabulary to express these emotions just yet.
#2 Hones problem-solving ability
Art and science go hand-in-hand. When children are exploring a new art medium, they inevitably run the course of testing out possibilities (“What will happen if I press on this dough?”) and overcoming challenges (“How can I get my ball to stay in one place?”)
A good art class will facilitate the process of allowing children the opportunity to figure out solutions to the many problems they will encounter along the way, instead of simply following a set of prescribed rules for them to follow.
#3 Teaches self-management
Art-making is a natural way of helping children come to terms with the limits of their abilities, the control they have over their surroundings and the art medium, and the emotions they experience in the creation of art.
In a classroom setting, children practice how to share and take turns (eg. with the scissors), and learn the value that each individual – themselves included – brings to their unique artwork.
#4 Trains fine motor skills
Even something as basic as finger painting is an activity that helps to train your child’s control and grip of the materials. From holding a paintbrush or marker and cutting paper to squeezing glue or picking up beads and buttons, your child’s fine motor skills will definitely benefit from attending art class!
#5 Unleashes their creativity
It’s not just about getting ideas out on paper – very often, children interact with their art medium on a very physiological level, enjoying and learning from the physical process of creating their work.
The very act of doing art is in itself a creative outlet for young children to release their emotions meaningfully and, sometimes, find the answers to questions they are asking.
It is an important caveat to note that what an adult deems “artistic” might be very different from what the child views as a true masterpiece. It can be tempting to want our children’s art to look neat and perfect, but that is focusing too much on the product of their hard work.
Art should be viewed as a process, and art class is a time for your child to explore, discover, experiment, create and celebrate his unique individuality and personality.
If you’re looking to enroll your child in an art class, check out some of these options.
By Dorothea Chow.
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