Early Learners & Art: Fosters Creativity & Much More!
August 28, 2018 – AWE Learning Staff
Children are curious individuals; they explore, imitate, and observe in an attempt to figure out how things operate and to learn about their surroundings. When early learners participate in art activities, they are able to engage their creative side, explore their emotions, and practice a wide range of skills that are helpful in both life and learning.
Many activities associated with making art are essential to developing fine motor skills, and improve hand-eye coordination. When young learners grasp a writing utensil, such as a pencil, crayon, marker, chalk, paintbrush, etc., as well as using scissors, they are practicing controlled movements. These actions are beneficial in developing the necessary skills for handwriting, forming letters and spacing out words, and skills needed for everyday tasks, such as buttoning a coat.
Not only does the process of building a piece of art have many benefits in developing fine motor skills, but art also aids in building critical language skills. Think about a time a child in your classroom, library, or home, created a piece of art. More often than not, early learner’s excitement for their masterpiece leads them to share their work with those around them, whether it’s a library staff member, parent, teacher, or friend. Children enjoy sharing how they made their piece of art, and the process they took to complete it. Young learners will not only get the opportunity to practice their shapes and colors, but they will also practice and build their word bank of descriptive words. These dialogues will aid children in fostering and understanding math concepts such as sizes and shapes, comparisons, and spatial reasoning. Through conversation, you can also ask specific questions to further their thinking about their artwork and their crafting process.
By giving children the ability to draw on a blank slate, they have the freedom to be creative and express their emotions. When they create their own masterpiece, early learners gain a sense of confidence and pride in their achievement, resulting in a boosted self-esteem. In their day to day routine, it is rare that children get to make their own decisions. However, art allows early learners to engage in and practice decision making. When coloring or painting, they must decide what colors to use, or where on the paper to start their picture. If they are given a variety of craft supplies, they must make decisions on what resources and supplies to use. Children are also able to add personal touches to make their masterpiece unique and represent their own ideas and creativity.
Studies have shown that there is a correlation between art and academic achievement. Young learners that participate in creative art regularly are four times more likely to be recognized for their academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children that do not participate.
Provide opportunities for the early learners in your community to stimulate their creativity by offering art programming at your library. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your event:
- Provide a range of supplies so children are encouraged to make decisions.
- Encourage the early learners to share their masterpiece with a friend or staff member.
- Focus on the process, not the final product.
- Be open-minded and encourage creativity!
- Build vocabulary skills by introducing new math terms and descriptive words.