Even though many people think that art doesn’t matter in a child’s life, it is a crucial part of the early childhood because children are able to become independent through their art and it helps children develop in many different aspects of life. Art activities are very important. Not only because it allows teachers to recognize children with unusual abilities, but because it encourages each child’s “full and all-sided development.” Art activities can and do help children develop their cognitive, social, and motor abilities. Art in the socio-emotional development; young children feel a sense of emotional satisfaction when they are involved in making art, whether they are modeling with clay, drawing with crayons, or making a collage from scraps. This satisfaction comes from the control children have over the material they use and the independence they have in the decisions they make. Deciding what they will make and what materials that will use may be the first opportunity children have to make independent choices and decisions. Making art also builds children’s self-esteem by giving them opportunities to express what they think and feel. When children participate in art activities with classmates, the feedback they give to each other builds self-esteem by helping them learn to accept criticism, and praise from others. Small group art activities also help children practice important social skills like taking turns, sharing, and negotiating for materials. The cognitive development part of art; children enjoy the feeling of a crayon moving across paper and seeing a blob of colored paint grow larger. Exploring materials is very important because through that exploration children build knowledge of the objects in the world around them. Activities centering on making art also requires children to make decisions and make self-evaluations. There are four decisions that child artists make. First, they decide what the will portray on their art: person, a tree, a dragon. Second, they choose the media they will use, the arrangement of the objects in their work, and the perspective viewers will take. Children decide how quickly or how slowly they will finish their project. Finally they will evaluate their creation. Most often, children evaluate their artwork by thinking about what they like and what other people tell them is pleasing. (Art and Creativity).
As children grow and develop, their art-making activities move pass exploring with their senses and begin to recognize the use of symbols. Children begin to represent real objects, events, and feelings in their artwork. Drawing becomes an activity that allows them to symbolize what they know and feel. It is needed for children whose vocabulary, written or verbal, may be limited. This early use of symbols in artwork is very important because it provides a foundation for children’s later use of words to symbolize objects and actions in formal writing (Fact Sheet). While making art, young children start to learn control of large and small muscle groups. The large are movements required for painting or drawing on large paper on the floor build coordination and strength. The smaller movements on fingers, hands, and wrists required to cut with scissors, model clay, or draw or paint on smaller surfaces develop fine motor dexterity and control. With repeated opportunities for practice, young children gain confidence in their use of tools for making art and later for writing (Kidman pg.95). Making art also helps children develop eye-hand coordination. Some of the main big benefits of art education are that it stimulates and develops the imagination and critical thinking and refines cognitive and creative skills. It has a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help the level of learning of children. It strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills, develops a sense of craftsmanship, task performance, goal setting skills needed to succeed in the classroom and in life, teaches children life skills, builds self-confidence, and self- discipline. These are just some of the ways art blesses and helps children’s lives for good. “Every child is an artist. It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael, but a life time to paint like a child.”-Picasso These have been many facts about the importance and results of art in children’s lives, now I want to go into the real life examples. There are many people that volunteer at multiple places to help children. One example is people that volunteer at orphanages all over the world to help less fortunate children. Talking to someone that recently came back from a volunteer mission like this told stories that prove the facts of art and activity involvement with children in their early years. Some kids had no social skills at all. They had maybe been abused or neglected and weren’t developing correctly. One of her jobs was to make up activities to do with the children.
One of their favorites was when they had the opportunity to go outside they would lay out on the ground and find something they loved outside and draw it. Also they would be given random scraps from all over the orphanage and were able to make whatever they wanted. It was amazing to see pictures of what some kids could come up with and use their imaginations to make. One last loved activity was painting which ended up with painting each other’s faces that would keep them laughing for hours. Something interesting is the kids that would get involved in these activities would excel more and would even help them like a therapy over whatever had happened to them in their lives. The first five years of a child’s life are fundamentally important. Recent research confirms that the first five years are particularly important for the development of the child’s brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child’s brain architecture. Early experiences provide the base for the brain’s organizational development and functioning throughout life. They have a direct impact on how children develop learning skills as well as social and emotional abilities. Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life (Importance of Art). They need love and nurturing to develop a sense of trust and security that turns into confidence as they grow. Understanding the stages of child development helps parents know what to expect and how to best support the child as she or he grows and develops. Children like to pretend. This should be encouraged, as it develops their imagination and creativity. It also helps the child understand different ways people behave. All children grow and develop in similar patterns, but each child develops at her or his own pace. Every child has her or his own interests, temperament, style of social interaction and approach to learning. Understanding the ages and stages of child development helps parents understand the changes to expect as a child grows and develops.
Parents or other caregivers should be able to seek help when they feel their child is not developing as expected. By observing how young children respond to touch, sound and sight, parents can identify signs of possible developmental problems or disabilities. If a young child is developing slowly, parents and other caregivers can help by spending extra time with the child, playing and talking with the child. “Doing art activities with kids and getting them involved and participating, and then being able to sit back and watch is a window into their world. You can tell so much by what they do. Through their art or how they try can help show us what they need help with.”(Cheryl Kidman pg.101). Teachers are a bigpart of children’s lives. But parents cannot depend on their children’s teachers to give them everything they need. Parents need to get involved in their child’s life. They can do art activities at school and they will still be benefited but children also learn and act like who they are surrounded by. Children need role models, and parents should be the one taking on that responsibility. By watching and imitating others, young children learn acceptable and unacceptable kinds of behavior. The examples set by adults, older siblings and children are the most powerful influences shaping a child’s behavior and personality. One way children learn is by copying what others do. This is why children need to have a strong foundation at home first so they will learn good ways from hopefully good parents and family. Children’s early childhood is the most crucial and important time of their lives. Art can truly help children’s growth and learning abilities in their early age because it is the time that they are able to absorb the most knowledge. If children are read to and interacted with and taught early in life then they will be so ahead. We have to stick up for education and opportunities for children and help out in whatever ways we can. Children are the future. “If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.”-Pearl S. Buck