Why Art Matters to the Preschooler


Art Builds Self-esteem

"Do not imagine that Art is something which is designed to give gentle uplift and self-confidence. Art is not a brassiere. At least, not in the English sense. But do not forget that brassiere is the French word for life-jacket." -Julian Barnes

Not only is modeling clay, or painting, an especially good way for children to grow new neuron connections, develop agility and hand-brain coordination, but it can also be the place from where a positive self image emerges. Mary Ann F. Kohl, author of twelve books on art, including Preschool Art:It's the Process, Not the Product and The Big Messy Art Book, comments," art teaches preschoolers to believe in themselves, to try new things and to trust their own imaginations."

As a preschool educator for many years, I can attest to the veracity of those words. Children that engage regularly in open-ended art activities such as art, usually develop a healthy self-esteem because the creation of art testifies to the presence of a creative and intelligent mind. For this very reason parents and educators of young children do well to hold back from offering too many suggestions at the art table, and especially restrain from criticizing a child's art since this can be constricting, not to mention, damaging to a child's frail self esteem. Ideally, when children are engaged in the process of creating art, they should be allowed to create uninterruptedly and at their own pace.

Art Helps Cognitive Skills

As a child grows, lessons can be incorporated as a way to provide children with critical insight into the world of shapes, colors, and forms. As long as art lessons are kept simple enough for young children to complete on their own with minimal instruction, they can furnish opportunities for the analysis of the invention process. Many experts agree that art can be a catalyst for fruitful assimilation of science and mathematical concepts in the future. For instance, as children try drawing what they see, there eyes open to the millions of shapes, textures, colors, and patterns that satiate the world around them. They also sharpen their spatial reasoning skills when conquering the illusion of depth, height and distances within an art work. and take note of the association between two dimensional art and the way objects occupy space in the real world. All this leads to children using critical thinking and observational skills which is a solid foundation for upper-school subjects.

Art Teaches History and Cultural Awareness

Art embodies the ideologies of cultures past and present, and so it also lends itself to meanderings on geography and history, and opens the window to different cultures past and present. Who were the Romans? Where is Rome? Why did Roman artists like painting pictures of God and angels? These are all legitimate questions that may surface during a lesson on Renaissance art, and that will help the child continue differentiating between fantasy and the realization of history as such. The preschool years are also the best years to introduce young minds to the old masters of art. In fact, the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and others, will serve as temporary frame for what later will become a child's unique interpretation of beauty and aesthetic values. As you can see, thoughtful preschool art teachers can learn to string many elements together in order to extract the most virtue out of a art lesson.

Creating Awareness to Technique

Another thing to keep in mind with preschoolers is that they have just come out of the oral stage, and so they are now not only ready, but eager, to explore with different materials. Pocketed creativity has finally been unleashed, and so children are ready to explore with tempera, gauche, plaster of Paris, crayons, markers, dotters, and any other non toxic art medium in order to facilitate fluidity and dexterity with these materials. The empowerment that children experience as they explore the visual arts, is congruent with the development of positivity and emotional well-being.

Developing the Artist

When children first engage in creating art, they start out by creating scribbles. Through these scribbles they explore all sorts of lines; straight, zigzagged, curvy, or squiggly. From an adult's vantage point, these random marks may lack communicative rationality, but children can sort out and find representational familiarity with the shapes he encounters in the world around him.

Relaxation Strategies for the Chaotic Classroom

Making Sense of Children's Senses: Relaxation Strategies for the Chaotic Classroom
Making Sense of Children's Senses: Relaxation Strategies for the Chaotic Classroom

This book helps childcare workers to make an in-depth analysis of the emotional needs of 21st century children, who are unlike the children of previous generations, and the quality of the classroom environment. The arguments set forth in this book serve as a microscopic lens for childcare providers to re-evaluate their true purpose for being in this field. Anyone who reads this book will definitely feel a scathing sense of duty towards children, the world, and humanity as a whole.


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