By: Quest Garigliano
When I was a kid I really struggled in school. I was never the strongest reader. Even when I was able to read something, I had little to no idea what it was that I just read. I remember feeling physically sick when I was faced with a math test or assignment. I would read word problems to myself over and over again, eventually drawing out the scenario in my head like a comic strip. I remember being so frustrated by the fact that I was not as “smart” as the other kids in my class. On top of struggling with my 3rd grade curriculum, my parents were going through a custody battle that I was in the middle of. I remember feeling very isolated and down on myself a lot. Luckily, the one class that enjoyed the most just happened to be the class that I excelled at- art class. I felt like I was actually good at something. My 3rd grade colleagues were now asking me to help them perfect their popsicle stick jewelry box. I started to work just as hard with my reading and math skills as I did on my art skills. I eventually became one the best students in my class.
Albert Einstein explained the importance of art and imagination perfectly when he said, “Creativity is as natural as sunshine and as vital as nourishment.” Art classes can help with development of any type of child. Whether the child is struggling or not, art classes have many benefits for children. From motor skills to problem solving, here are just a few ways that art classes can benefit your child.
Children are faced with decisions and tough choices from a young age. These choices and life moments are what molds them into the adult that they grow up to be. According to a report by Americans for the Arts, instilling these problem-solving skills from a young age can greatly benefit your child and help them navigate difficult situations as they get older. Art allows children to be innovative, while making decisions through trial and error, that a classroom doesn’t always allow. Artistic freedom permits children to make these discoveries on their own time.
As a child, the world can be so small. Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University concludes that “Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.” Art can allow children to explore different people and parts of the world, in a fun and educational way. Being exposed to different ideas, people and places not only can inform children but allow them to explore their own sense of individuality and self-expression. As a young person starts to expand their horizons, they develop a sense of their personal preferences. Exposure of things outside of their peripheral means ultimately leads to developing a strong sense of opinion at a young age. Dr. Freedman goes on to explain that an introduction to art will also help children grow into better consumers, as they are immersed into a world of branding and logos. In a world, where exterior forces can manipulate children from a young age, having a strong sense of self early on is extremely beneficial.
Improves motor skills
In a world that is primarily digital, working on cursive and penmanship is often secondary to navigating a digital word document.Those achy hand muscles that we all remember using at a young age after writing our names over and over again, are a thing of the past. Learning how to properly hold a paint brush and charcoal pencil can greatly benefit your child’s handwriting and as they strengthen those tiny muscles. According to the College Board for the National Coalition for Core Art Standards, art students are able to work better with a wide variety of tools on more delicate pieces. These refined motor skills learned from calligraphy, shading and molding will translate into other areas of your child’s life, such as buttoning a coat or hanging a picture.
Patience and focus
As we get older, our ideas become more complex. With that newfound complexity, our expectations become higher and higher. As a child who is active in art classes, they are predisposed to challenges that require a high level of attention and perseverance. Teaching children to work towards a vision and goal will stick with your child through the years ahead, and encourage them to keep working towards their dreams. Quitting can look like the easy way out of a difficult situation but through art classes children start to learn the rewards of hard work, focus and determination. In fact, Americans for Art said in a study that kids who practice art regularly are 4 times more likely to excel academically.
For some introverted children, art can be a great tool to express what is happening internally. According to The NEA Interagency Task Force “at virtually every stage of life, the arts can foster openness to novelty, encourage connections to people, places, things, and concepts, and promote the ability to take multiple perspectives, among other positive outcomes.” Taking control of emotions can lead to children feeling confident in their ability to manage these emotions as well. Confidence at this age is important as children start to enter more challenging stages of their lives. Being able to identify emotions and communicate them visually, is a great tool for children to carry on into their adolescence and beyond.
Giving children the opportunity to explore art comes with many benefits, besides having something new to hang on your refrigerator. During these challenging times, art can be a great way for your child to sort out our world’s current events as well as grow in other areas of their life. If you are interested in giving the gift of art to your child (safely) and investing in their future, call Pikes Peak Collective today for more information.
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Thank you for reading,