Most kids enjoy drawing and painting, yet a lot of them later decide they’re “not good at art.” The issue? They never did get the fundamentals. Now is the time to schedule those.
Imagine expecting your 6-year-old to score a goal on a soccer field when they have never practised dribbling. Or giving them a musical instrument and watching them play one of Mozart’s sonatas, but without having taught them how to read notes. You wouldn’t, wouldn’t you? And if you did, they would undoubtedly detest it and may even detest you, making them never want to play again. Early grades pupils are frequently advised to “express their imagination” rather than receiving any kind of structured drawing or painting instruction. The drawback to that approach is that “kids who haven’t learned core art skills tend to grow bored with their drawings, decide art isn’t for them, and quit,” says Bette Fetter, a former illustrator who now works in early childhood education and founded Young Rembrandts, a nationwide drawing programme for children ages 3 to 12. Have you ever heard a young person claim that they “can’t draw” or “simply aren’t good at art”?
Unfortunately, the number of students receiving arts instruction has declined. The arts programmes often the first to go when school budgets are cut, according to Fetter, since they aren’t considered valuable. According to a federal government study, schools with a higher proportion of minority students were more likely to report time spent on the arts being reduced. According to Fetter, “when students do have art, they’re lucky if it’s 30 minutes once a week.” There isn’t a designated art classroom, therefore they might go to the art room or a teacher might travel to them.
It’s a misguided strategy because studies have shown that teaching methods that incorporate the visual and performing arts help students retain information in disciplines like math and science. If we consider art to be a superpower for children, we must do everything in our power to offer them those superpowers.
Drawing Helps With Math and More
Everything in art begins with a drawing. According to Fetter, “every painting, sculpture, and watercolour started with an idea written on paper.” “In order to advance and continue making art, we need to have those fundamental talents.” Like anything else we are taught, you need the foundation to build upon.” Drawing is a skill that can be learned much like reading or multiplication tables “According to artist Janet Hartman, who spent 30 years instructing at Baltimore’s Roland Park Country School.
That’s not to say free-form creative expression (i.e., “Here’s a piece of paper, draw whatever you want!”) isn’t fun and worthy too. However, it’s crucial to begin at the beginning. “All forms of art allow for self-expression, but often require guidance. Like other disciplines, art follows a set process. You can use what you’ve learned to draw and what you’ve been taught about colour and design to make your own masterpieces, but you can’t do that if you haven’t mastered the fundamentals “Harman claims.
Learning to draw and acquiring “visual literacy”—the capacity to decipher and engage in critical thought about visual images—have additional advantages that support children’s scholastic success. This is so because most kids learn best visually. Drawing, according to Fetter, is their language since they learn by observing things. Since drawing is a skill that will benefit children throughout their lives, it is important to cultivate their local language. Drawing is used in a variety of academic disciplines, including math (cube trains, anyone? ), science (hello, double helix), and social studies (maps). And that’s really great: It has been demonstrated that including the arts in the curriculum significantly improves academic outcomes, including motivation for studying, cognitive abilities, and material retention.
Of course, the advantages go far beyond raising our children’s academic performance. Learning how to hold a pencil and colouring within the lines both help with fine motor and coordination abilities. A child’s ability to dream big and think critically is enhanced by art. Additionally, it’s a fantastic method to encourage kids to express their emotions, grow in confidence, or maybe discover “their thing.” In Greenlawn, New York, eighth-grader Scarlet Carey has been painting for as long as she can recall, and people take note. When other children compliment her on her artwork and tell her that she is a good artist, she says, “It makes me feel extremely good.” And I enjoy creating pieces of art for loved ones to enjoy on their birthdays.
Every person has a strength that they naturally gravitate toward, and exposing kids to art merely increases their options. The realisation that drawing in perspective is actually math and that you are brilliant at it can shift your entire attitude toward both subjects and yourself, according to Hartman, if math is not your thing. And even if you’re neither athletic or musical, you may still create the set for the school play.
Start With Lines, Shapes, Colors
Making time and space for art in your home is the most important thing you can do. According to Fetter, “pencils are more vital than crayons or markers in childhood.” So keep lots of those as well as basic art equipment on available. Set aside a space for your children to create in peace, and don’t worry so much about keeping it spotless after each session. (Hint: If you can, hide this space from view.)
Children learn how to draw things like butterflies, ice cream cones, and even horses at Young Rembrandts step by step. Contrary to the message we frequently hear in preschools that says, “Just let kids express their creativity,” this emphasises the importance of learning how-to methods as an empowering tool for aspiring artists. Children develop at varying rates, but according to Hartman, the finest building blocks to start with are line, shape, and colour. It will assist your child understand how it works if you have the courage to demonstrate how to connect lines to form forms, such as a dog or a cat. Just try to strike a healthy balance between your instruction and free-form drawing time.
In Fairfield, Connecticut, where she offers workshops for young children, art teacher Jessica Howard says, “You can spend time teaching foundations, but in a clever way so they don’t feel as if they’re being taught.” “Teach them about shapes and aid them in seeing that everything is made up of shapes. Demonstrate what a circle looks like by drawing little and large circles, and then point out that you can transform them into various objects by adding different elements, such as a sun, a snowman, or flowers.
“It’s crucial to let children draw inspiration from real-world experiences. ” Put something down in front of them, such as a flower vase, and instruct them to “Draw what you see.” “Howard, who runs Jessica Howard Ceramics and Art and is also a working artist, explains. “Assist them in segmenting it, and have them use their eyes to identify the various lines and forms.” For instance, a house is constructed of a square, a triangle for the roof, and a rectangle for the door. Enjoy your gardening and add a few extra squares for windows! In order to provide them a foundation, you want them to be able to draw by using a reference, but you also want to allow them the freedom to express themselves creatively, according to Howard. Playing classical music in the classroom is another tactic Howard employs.
Read more: Decode Your Child’s Drawings