Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Artful Classroom
by Maureen Pinto
A child becomes totally engrossed immersed in the process of making a work of art. The sensation of feeling the smooth thick paint sliding onto the paper calms the child and brings pleasure in the creation. When children grapple with the challenge of representing an object or person on the page, they are engaging in a task that is both demanding and satisfying.
Teachers provide an assortment of art materials that children may choose from to make their own unique creations. We do not have children copy a teacher's model or make a designated product. We encourage them to use the materials in different ways. Art is a vital and vibrant part of the early childhood program, contributing to all aspects of the young child's development.
As they draw, paint and sculpt, children think creatively, make decisions and solve problems. Children's fine motor skills are developed naturally through manipulation of brushes, crayons scissors and clay. All of these activities prepare children for writing in later years. Language also is developed as kids talk about color, shape and size, and as they describe their work to friends and teachers.
Value your child's efforts and expose him or her to quality artwork through visits to museums and art shows. Recognize that your children learn in a variety of ways and that creative activities provide positive, satisfying experiences for all children.
Sixteen Reasons Art is Good For Children:
Art stimulates both sides of the brain
Thirty three percent of children are visual learners.
Studies show that children who have more art read better, and do better in math and science.
Studies show that children who have early art and music training are better able to visualize complex mathematical problems and solve them creatively.
Children need a place in school to express themselves.
Piaget states that children need to learn through their senses.
Art enhances self esteem.
Art develops awareness of physical environment.
Art develops hand eye coordination.
Art enhances perceptual development.
Art teaches open ended thinking.
Art teaches children that there can be more than one solution to the same problem.
Art teaches children how to engage in creative problem solving and thinking.
Children create beautiful art and they need to do more, not less of it.
When integrated with other curriculum areas children become more engaged in the learning process.
And last but not least, art nurtures the human soul! (It feels good to do it!)
Maureen Pinto is a preschool teacher at Kumara School in Mill Valley, California.

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