Approximately 64 percent of the nation’s children attend preschool prior to entering kindergarten. Preschool, in part, teaches children social skills and enhances behavioral traits needed to succeed in the educational environment. While these are important aspects of a preschool environment, what is often ignored is the importance of art in the preschool setting.
Today’s educational administrators circles the wagons around STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Other subjects and their importance to a well-rounded child are virtually ignored. It’s time that we revisited the impact of art on our preschoolers; it’s a major one.
1.Fine Motor Skills
By the time the typical child is four years old, he knows how to grasp a pencil, a utensil and a toothbrush. Art lessons help to enhance and refine fine motor skills in young children. Students are taught to hold writing instruments and paint brushes properly. They are taught not only how to hold these items, but how to manipulate them in such a way that they can create a piece of art.
Creativity is a skill that is learned early on. In art class, children are encouraged to communicate visually. They may be asked to draw a picture of their favorite animal or their trip to the amusement park. Preschoolers may be given clay and asked to make a vase. Children may be taught a lesson as simple as layering one color of crayon over another to see what color the two make. Creativity is a skill that children carry through their educational careers and beyond.
Imagine that a child is told to create a picture of her family. She can use any medium she likes. She now has to utilize her problem-solving skills to choose a medium, the colors, and if something does not look the way she wishes, how to change or modify it. All of these are problem-solving skills that are enhanced through the construction of an art project.
Children do not often have the rich vocabulary necessary to express their emotions. Art lends itself to the expression of feelings through visual means. An angry child, for example, may cut apart a piece of paper with scissors and glue the pieces onto a large piece of paper, creating a mural. A happy child may draw a picture of the things that bring her the greatest joy. By creating visual representations of their feelings, children learn how to express emotions.
Teachers today are encouraged to utilize multicultural examples in the classroom. Preschool children can learn about cultural diversity and acceptance through art. When teachers use age-appropriate examples and projects, children learn about other cultures in a safe manner. Children become excited about other cultures and belief systems when creativity is involved.
Art plays a pivotal part in the development of children. Through art, children learn acceptance, creativity and self-expression. Art in the preschool setting offers much more than learning to color within the lines.
Writer Brett Harris is an avid blogger. Interested in learning more about teaching? Consider earning a master of arts in teaching online.