Art plays a bigger role in raising children than we think. In addition to inspiring the learning of other topics like mathematics or reading, drawing, painting or modeling are vital activities for the development of perception, fine motor skills, or social communication.
Art education, unfortunately, relegated to the background of many families and schools in our country, is far from being a superfluous luxury in the education of children. Research has shown that art plays a vital role, not only in children’s development but also in their learning to read, write and count.
The invaluable help of art
Among these studies, the one conducted by the UCLA School of Education among American high school students found that those who had a close relationship with the arts, whether in the classroom or outside of the classroom, performed significantly higher and were less likely to fail in school than those without this experience.
A few years ago, the prestigious science journal Nature reported on other research conducted in public schools in Rhode Island, showing the results of an extra hour of music and art on five- to seven-year-old children who were behind their classmates in almost every subject. After seven months, these children had reached the same reading level as the rest of the students and had even surpassed them in mathematics. The research director could not be clearer in his conclusions: We believe we have demonstrated with scientific data that music and art education should not be seen as an additional luxury but as a fundamental component of education,
Another eminent specialist, Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard, a pioneer in the 1980s of the now unanimously accepted theory of multiple intelligences, maintains that a good educational system must nurture and foster all forms of intelligence, including those related to art; otherwise, it would neglect fundamental areas of human potential and slow down the cognitive development of children. In this sense, Gardner recommends encouraging children’s love for art in all its forms, not only as a means of expression but also as a means of approaching the world around them.
Painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, modeling, and singing… are basic activities for the biological, educational, and emotional development of children. But they are also a spiritual necessity. Through them, they learn to explore their environment, to become aware of themselves and others. Your involvement may be gathered in the following areas:
– · Personal development: Artistic activities offer opportunities to express one’s creativity, to discover oneself; they reinforce self-esteem and the idea that one has of oneself. Each work of art generates in the child who creates it the feeling of having reached an achievement.
– · Social development: is enhanced when the child learns to cooperate in a collective work of art. Kids are aware of their involvement in joint work and also obtain the feeling of belonging to a group.
– Physical Development: Smaller muscles, hand-eye coordination, laterality, and a sense of rhythm are developed through various forms of artistic expression.
– Language Development: Art is a form of expression that is not based on verbal ability, however, children’s language and vocabulary develop tremendously when talking about their work. In addition, drawing contributes to the development of handwriting in children.
– · Cognitive development: The benefits of art are particularly visible in areas such as symbolic representation, spatial relationship, numbers and quantities, order, series, classifications, etc.
Talk about art with your child
Besides actual artistic creation and expression, there is another activity with which adults can help children approach and understand art. When creating their works, children explore the world around them, but they can also discover it in the works of others or in nature itself, which can pave the way for them to come to appreciate art as part of their life. Very few people continue to make art after they are no longer children, but the love of art is a lifelong achievement and pleasure.
Discussing a painting, a sculpture or a baroque facade with a child can seem pretentious and even pedantic. However, no one is more willing to do this than children, whose senses and perceptions are so open and accustomed to scrutinizing their surroundings. Exchanging views on what we see in museums, on the streets, or in nature itself is a simple way for a child to acquire an emergent knowledge base on which to build a future hobby. Here are some guidelines to follow:
– We have to make sure that the child feels comfortable and safe to express their point of view on the piece because with them you are going to reveal something very personal.
– · Familiarize the child with museums and art galleries in your city or near you.
– Help you collect reproductions and illustrations of works of art. They can be purchased at museum gift shops, stationery stores, and bookstores. They can also be cut from magazines, brochures, or the art sections of newspapers.
– · Observing art in nature itself. Discuss with the child changes in light, throughout the day, or in different seasons, and their effect on the objects we see. You can also share your impressions of the shapes, colors, and textures of plants, trees, or rocks… Children are born observers and if we help them to think about what they see from an aesthetic point of view, they not only learn to appreciate art, but also the nature that inspires it.
Adventures in the museum
All major Spanish museums and a growing number of provincial museums have specialized departments that schedule activities for children, usually on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Visits for the youngest usually include workshops in which the children, after visiting a room in the museum, create their work of art, often inspired by what they have just seen, with the materials provided by the center itself. even.