Visual art plays an important role in our lives beginning at birth, according to science.
In fact, one study even found that babies love Picasso!
At Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool®, we integrate art education into our proprietary Creatively Shine™ curriculum, including an Art Show that lets young artists proudly display their very own works for parents and teachers to admire.
Our process-oriented approach is based on the knowledge that kids learn by doing. When children have the freedom to experiment with different materials and colors, create their own work, mess up and start over, they’re also learning how to think critically, solve problems and build self-confidence.
Benefits of Art Education in Early Childhood
Both at home and at preschool, it’s never too early for your child to reap the benefits of viewing and creating visual art.
Researchers have found that babies enjoy abstract and representational images — hence a preference for Picasso over Monet. Infants also like bold colors, high contrast, vertical patterns, curved lines and portraits with large eyes.
Talking to your child about the different elements within a painting supports language development, similar to the benefits of reading a story together. Letting them play with fingerpaints and brushes, and providing a safe place to make a mess, lays a foundation for lots of other important skills:
- Visual processing
- Gross motor development
- Fine motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Pincer grip
- Early literacy
Art plays a critical role in children’s emotional development. One experiment found that toddlers participating in an integrated arts program exhibited more positive emotions such as happiness and pride. They also showed more growth in their ability to regulate their emotions.
Among preschoolers ages 3-5, similar social-emotional benefits were found for kids enrolled in a 6-week art program. The International Journal of Art & Design Education reports that art education also develops a number of intellectual skills in preschoolers:
- Aesthetic awareness
- Critical thinking
- Abstract thinking
Open-Ended Preschool Art Activities
The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends a process-oriented approach to art education, and offers the following characteristics of a quality preschool art curriculum:
- Letting kids explore different techniques, tools and materials
- Encouraging students to create their own unique pieces, instead of requiring everyone to draw the same thing or copy a pre-existing image
- No right or wrong answers, no samples to follow and no instructions dictating what the art “must” look like
The preschool art center should be a relaxing space with lots of diverse items to inspire children’s creativity:
- Easels with a variety of paints, including watercolor and fingerpaints
- A variety of tools to create with, including paintbrushes, toothbrushes, paint rollers, pens, pencils, markers, crayons and more
- Lots of materials for creating collages, such as papers in different sizes, colors and textures, as well as glue, paste, recycled household materials and child-safe scissors
- Homemade doughs for molding, and yarn with plenty of beads for stringing
Teachers can guide the creative process by allowing plenty of time for students to develop their ideas, encouraging kids to talk about their work and offering comments like “Wow! Look at all those bright yellow stars!”
Want to learn more about art education at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse®? Contact a location near you today!
And check out previous blogs for additional information on our well-rounded curriculum: