Younger Children and Art Education
There has been a noticeable change in the education curriculum in the United States over the past few years. Schools are being told to focus on common core subjects, like math, reading, and writing skills, and stray away form elective-type courses. Art education courses have fallen into the category of classes that are considered enjoyable but ultimately unnecessary. As a result, art classes are being removed from some high schools and it won’t be long before the classes are removed from middle and elementary school curricula as well. However, one has to wonder if the officials making the decision to remove art education from schools have really considered all of the benefits art classes give to children, especially children who are in the critical developmental stages of their lives.
Language and Vocabulary Skills
Just talking about art with a child helps him or her learn and begin to recognize the names of many different shapes and colors. Making art also helps children remember the names of different activities. For example they can paint or draw a picture of themselves playing soccer or helping cook dinner. Through creating different pieces, children can recognize the activities they enjoy or do daily, convey a message, and describe the method they use to depict each activity.
Motor Skills and Visual Learning
Without even knowing it, a child is enhancing his or her motor skills when using a paintbrush, drawing, or even cutting different shapes out of a piece of paper. All of these activities work to increase dexterity in children, which they will need when they begin to learn how to write.
Likewise, activities such as playing with clay or threading beads enhance a child’s visual-spatial perception skills. It is apparent now more than ever that children are learning through visual cues and this is a good thing. Children should be able to see the world as something three-dimensional, not just as something that exists through letters and numbers. Art education teaches children how to understand and criticize visual information.
Art also helps children develop decision making skills at a young age. When children decide what activity, memory, or emotion they want to convey in an art piece, they begin to practice other parts of the decision making process as well, specifically critical-thinking and problem solving skills. As they create art, children are constantly exploring ideas, thinking about how to physically create those ideas and make them visually appealing, and deciding what tools they will need to use to complete the task. This echoes the process of decision making in which individuals must figure out what they want to do, how they’re going to do it, and what they will need to reach their goal.
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