By Shelley SmithDale
Teachers say that art encourages fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities and that it can be used to effectively teach other key subjects such as reading, writing, math and science. Therapists say that art is valuable because it allows children to process their world and because it gives them critical sensory input. Artist say that art is important for its own sake, as a source of beauty and expression, and for the actual process of creating. Students say that art is fun! Parents say that art is important to their family, keeping everyone happy.
Art is naturally associated with creativity, something that is increasingly seen as one of the most important factors for the success of individuals, organizations and society.
Here are some of the benefits of having Art in your life:
Art Promotes Creativity
Creativity is the ability to think outside the box, to bring two unrelated ideas together in a new way. Creativity is the ability to find solutions to major problems and breakthroughs of all kinds. Therefore the ability to be creative is imperative to the success of our students and our world, with the increase of racial discord, global warming, and wars. Individuals and governments are looking for creative solutions. According to the International Child Art Foundation, “Research indicates that a child who is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property—key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twenty-first century.” The world needs more and better thinkers.
Art Encourages Brain Connections
Art uses all the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, depending upon the actual activity. Students’ brains are engaged as they experiment and create, mixing colours, or drawing from their imagination or from a particular piece of inspiration.
Art Builds Fine Motor Skills
Holding a paintbrush, mixing colours, cutting with scissors, gluing, and manipulating objects are all tasks that require coordination and fine motor skills. Students see them as fun and they want to continuously do them, thereby improving their skills.
Scribbling is the Beginning of Writing
Students begin by scribbling at an early age. As students learn to control their scribbling, they learn to make a variety of shapes, and will learn all the shapes necessary to write the letters of the alphabet.
Art Develops Problem-solving Abilities
Art is process oriented that creates endless opportunities for students to make choices, form conclusions, reevaluate decisions and assess their results. Students are able to be more comfortable with uncertainty and be flexible, which are both necessary ingredients for creativity. Experiencing a variety of materials and techniques lends itself to new combinations and ideas.
Art Helps Students Understand Themselves and Their World
Students learn massive amounts of new information that they need to process. Art allows them to deal with all of this and provides a safe outlet for their feelings. Art allows these thoughts to be expressed through line, colour and image encouraging the students’ imagination and helping them to express themselves, sometimes in ways more comfortable than words.
Art encourages students to master their fine motor skills, and a variety of tools and techniques, in order to express themselves. Teachers create environments where it is safe to experiment and create, with free access to materials. Our job isn’t to create artists, necessarily, but rather to teach students to be confident and comfortable with their creativity.
Art Helps Students Connect
Art is an equalizer, creating a common experience for students. It can help students of all ages, races, abilities, and even languages engage in a shared activity. It’s a path anyone can take, at any time. It’s never too late!