It was renowned sculptor Magdelena Abakanowicz who first said that Art doesn’t ‘solve’ problems, but makes us aware of their existence’ and it could be argued that this knowledge is just as important to the development of our nations children as more conventionally academic pursuits such as Mathematics and English. Research has revealed that a child who spends their formative years engaged in artistic endeavours is more likely to grow into teenagers as more emotionally developed, academically engaged and socially aware individuals and really is that not what we all want for our children?
Although it might be believed in some circles that involvement in the arts could distract a child from their more ‘academic’ studies, it has been proven that involvement in the arts is often associated with increased critical thinking and cognitive ability in children. The increases in confidence, concentration and motivation are also a massive potential boon to a child’s future skill set and there is no reason why an artistic skill learnt at a young age could form the basis of your child’s future career! In this article we will explain how parents can use art as a means through which to expose their children to a wider world of learning, fun and that magical sweet-spot where the two are one and the same.
If you are serious about nurturing an interest in the arts in your child then an interest should be nurtured from an early age, whether this is through encouraging your child to take up a musical instrument or simply helping them with less involved activities such as painting, drawing and using arts and crafts. Using exciting materials such as fluorescent paper and holographic card could turn a run-of-the-mill arts and crafts session into a thing of wonder which will ignite the imaginations and passion of your budding little artists. Children are intrinsically drawn to creative pursuits so shouldn’t require too much encouragement, but if that’s not the case it’s important for parents not to force their children into anything they are not interested by. Even as children we are primarily creatures who will be more drawn to pursuits we discover on our own.
In these times of economical instability, our schools are feeling the pinch like never before and schools arts programmes are usually the first things to be cut. This really isn’t healthy! The global ‘obesity scare’ that seems to be perpetuating the media on an almost weekly basis means that sports programmes are more popular than ever and it could be argued that (as both are traditionally seen as ‘superfluous activities’) an increase in school sports will mean a decrease in school arts. This is not only a colossal shame but also completely avoidable. You (as parents) have all the power. Make your voices heard and let your local schools and government officials know that you want to child to grow up with at least some semblance of an artistic temperament. You could even help raise funds yourself, or donate art supplies perhaps (holographic card and watercolour paints are not expensive at-all) so that some of the financial burden is taken away from the schools themselves.
The primary reason that being actively artistic tends to improve a child’s overall intellect is that art teaches our children how to think. A child doesn’t necessarily need to be ‘gifted’ in order to paint or draw a picture but they will need to grasp concepts of perspective, colour, architecture and spatial relevance; all the kind of concepts it would be almost impossible to instil in a young child any other way. This is just one example. What many parents tend to not be able to grasp is that skills which children learn in an artistic environment can quite easily be drawn on in other facets of both their school lives and their home lives.
As human beings we have been using art to express ourselves since the dawn of time. Outside of speech, art is how we first started communicating and it is one of the few forms of pure expression we have left. Let’s work together to keep that spirit alive in our children!
Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Alexander Baxevanis
Article by Bob Emerald
Bob Emerald is a writer who believes that art and creative subjects should play an important part in a child’s education. Therefore, he recommends that schools should engage children in these subjects by using musical instruments, paints, fluorescent papers and holographic card to inspire and excite.