The Importance of Art in Early Childhood
Art can be a fun form of creative expression for your Preschooler, but more and more studies are beginning to show the many benefits to child development that go beyond the simple joy creating art brings. Whether your child is a toddler just beginning to explore with crayons, a preschooler molding playdough, or a school age child testing different mediums of paint, they are making connections and learning through their creative play. Let’s explore some of the ways that both the creation of and the appreciation of art can benefit your child.
The most basic or obvious benefit may be the development and growth of fine motor function. Holding a crayon, guiding a paint brush, and properly using scissors are all skills that need time and practice to hone. Developing strong fine motor skills is an essential part of early childhood, as each of these things help your young child develop the dexterity and strength needed for writing and other skills, like feeding oneself, learning to button, or zipping up a jacket.
Whether drawing shapes or deciding what size objects they want to mold out of clay, your child is making mathematical connections with their work and, by extension, the world around them. Through exploration of patterns, shapes, colors, and symmetry, your preschooler is making connections that become the building blocks of future math skills, like the understanding of geometry. Try telling “math stories” to your child and have them draw the story. You have just introduced them to the skills they will need to understand and navigate a word problem!
Inventiveness and “Out-of-the-Box” Thinking:
Through art, your infant, toddler, or preschooler is encouraged to express themselves and take risks. Freedom in art helps your child develop a sense of innovative thinking that will be important in their lives through adulthood. Feeling safe in their decision-making skills will create a more confident child as they flex their creative muscles. Asking your child why they chose a certain color, shape, or medium has the added benefit of giving them practice in verbalizing their thinking and choices.
A large part of art in preschool (and throughout life) should be its appreciation. One does not have to be educated in art to have a true appreciation of the work of another person. In introducing your child to different forms of artwork, you are teaching them about the diversity in the world around them. Viewing or learning about another person’s artwork has the added benefit of opening your child up to the differences in perspective their friends may have. This fosters a more empathetic and understanding approach to the views of others.
There is no right or wrong way to be creative. Every time your child creates a drawing, a painting, or a craft, there is an opportunity to boost their self-confidence. Be sure to praise their work and use it as an opportunity to open the lines of communication with them. Allow them to talk about their work and why they made the choices they made. Feeling as though they have achieved a measure of success will help build your child’s confidence and make them crave future success.
Art in early childhood is a wonderful way to foster growth in many areas of your child’s development. Art education is not a luxury, but should instead be viewed as an essential tool in your child’s development and growth. It can instill creativity, open thinking, a love of learning, and the self-confidence your child needs for success throughout their lives.
Seefeldt, C. & Wasik, B. (2014). The Value of Art for the Preschool Child.
Retrieved from www.education.com.
Lynch, G. (2012). The Importance of Art in Child Development.
Retrieved from www.pbs.org
Lasky, L. & Mukerji, R. (1980). Art: Basic for Young Children.
Washington, DC: NAEYC