Why should we teach art to young children?
♥ In the beginning, God 'The Creator' created man in His image/likeness (i.e. being a creator(artist) is one of His
♥ To instill learning not just to look, but to SEE
(particularly from God's perspective) the world around us.
To become more aware of His kingdom and look more closely through the eyes of
♥ To emphasize how art impacts our daily life, including
clothing, buildings, home interiors, cars, product packaging and the media
monster – advertising.
♥ To improve critical thinking skills and creative problem
♥ To enable students to "Read" visual information and
communicate using visual media.
Ten things the arts teach:
1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and
that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts teach multiple perspectives.
4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes
are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor
numbers exhaust what we can know.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
7. The arts teach children to think through and within a material.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
9. The arts enable us to have experiences we can have from no other source, and
through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are
capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes
to the young what adults believe is important.
How do we teach art?
♥ We may begin using history – looking at art
throughout the centuries and its place in society. It is important to use a
variety of artistic styles to show how art has progressed over time. Using
master works is most desirable – excellence should be the standard.
♥ We must cause children to think about their work. This
eliminates the frequently used option of doing pattern work. Encourage the
children to trust their own intuition as to what color would work best, what
type of marks need to be made, how things should be arranged, etc. Resist the
temptation to make it look like you want it to look, yet encourage
thoughtfulness, completeness and even redoing the work completely when
necessary. Ask questions that encourage cerebral examination of the work they
♥ Time is essential! Typically there is not enough of it
– but the key to promoting creative works in children is to give them
enough time. We would rather have one excellent work of art than several
half-hearted efforts. If a child learns to explore depth over breadth first,
the breadth will follow naturally.
♥ The student needs visual stimulation.
God's incredible creation is the best reference available.
Start building a picture file of excellent photographs that can be used for the
various subjects you may be working with. Mount the pictures on white poster
board and laminate them so they will last for years. Fish, animals, flowers,
trees, clouds, buildings – all of these and more should be at your
fingertips so that students will have some frame of reference with which to
work. Many subjects can be found on the internet and easily printed for the
students use. The goal is to give the student plenty of
visual information to formulate his or her own interpretation of a given
♥ Although it is wonderful for children to explore as many
different types of media as possible, if art materials are not available (they
can get quite costly) focus on mastering the readily available ones such as
crayons, pencils and markers. Layering crayon color or color pencil creates
wonderful effects. Mixing pencil and markers in one work can be very dynamic.
Encourage students to explore the potential of every medium they have
available. This becomes part of the time issue. It is wise to let kids have
time to just work with and manipulate materials before they begin on their
♥ As the Renaissance masters did so should we model for our
students. Rarely, if ever, have I given an assignment that I have not done
myself. In fact, I believe one of the reasons I am able to get such great work
out of children is because I do the assignments I give them. They are able to
watch me work and see the concentration, the mistakes, the handling of
materials, etc. This is a powerful learning tool for children and should be
encouraged in every discipline.
♥ Provide as much positive encouragement as possible. Give
students as many positive comments as you can – even if only I like this
color or this is a very bold line?. All students will do something in their
work that you can pick out and use as encouragement for them to press on and
continue working out their ideas.
♥ Finally, require that the students evaluate their own work.
Hold it at a distance and let them look at it critically. What do you like
best about your work? What do you like least about it? , What would you do
differently if you were to do it over again?? Children are keen to look and
evaluate but must be encouraged to do so. Do not leave this vital step