It’s no secret that young children love arts and crafts, but did you know just how important these activities are during the early years? Making art gives children an opportunity to explore, observe, interact with their environment, and figure out how things work. It also helps them learn and develop physically, emotionally and socially, making art an influential activity during the early years.
Making art helps young kids develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor dexterity.
Through activities like play dough, sculpting and drawing, children develop visual spatial skills and use visual information to make choices. Learning how to grip crayons, pencils, scissors and paintbrushes develops motor muscles, and also helps kids practice hand and arm movements. In this way, art can form the basis of a child’s ability to use tools in life and will help build their confidence for writing later.
Young children may not necessarily be making anything in particular when they create art, but they will love the sound a paintbrush makes against paper, the feel of wet paint on their hands, or the shine when they sprinkle glitter. Put simply, art is a wonderfully enjoyable activity for small children and it brings them joy. Making art also helps children develop emotionally in other ways. They will feel a sense of satisfaction in being able to choose the materials they work with, decide what they will make, and have control over how their art piece will look. Through these small decisions they are practicing their independence. Art also gives children an opportunity to express how they feel or what they might be thinking.
Art is also important for a child’s social development during the early years. Giving feedback to other children or receiving feedback on their own art can build a child’s self-esteem, as well as helping him or her get used to accepting praise and criticism. Group art activities give kids a chance to practice social skills because they will need to share art supplies, take turns and work together.
Making art is often an exploratory activity for young children. They enjoy drawing because they can see colour appear on a piece of paper as they move a crayon over it. In this way, art helps young children learn about cause and effect, and how objects around them interact with each other in the world. As children get older, their art moves from exploratory to symbolic as they attempt to represent real things, people or feelings. Drawing is an important outlet for children who have limited vocabulary, as art may be the only way some kids can truly express themselves.
At Nido Early School, every centre has a dedicated art studio where children can express their creative side using various materials. Children are shown how to work with different mediums, a practice known as “skilling”, and teachers believe art is about enjoyment as much as participation. Nido Early School teachers love to showcase their students’ art throughout the schools so that all children and their families can enjoy it. To find out more, call 08 6210 3210 or visit www.nidoearlyschool.com.au to find your nearest centre.
ABOUT THE EXPERT
Formerly a Principal of a number of Queensland schools, David is highly regarded throughout the education industry and holds a Diploma in Teaching and a Bachelor of Education. Now the CEO of Nido Early School, David is committed to providing the highest possible learning experience and wellbeing for children through a world-class Reggio Emilia approach.