Are You Feeding Your Child's Inner Artist?
When children start pre-school, it begins. They dabble with construction paper, finger paints, and glitter. They bring art work home nearly every day and we proudly plaster it across the refrigerator. But once most children start elementary school, the deluge of childhood masterpieces slows to a trickle, or in some cases, simply disappears.
Shrinking school budgets, have drastically reduced art instruction or eliminated it completely. So, if your child isn't taking art classes in school, how can you be sure their inner artist doesn't waste away?
Art teachers are quick to explain that art is more than just a fun outlet for students; it's an essential element of learning. According to the National PTA, art cultivates self-expression, imagination and creativity, as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Schools place such a strong emphasis on standardized testing. Some educators believe the tests stifle creativity because the questions focus on finding one correct answer instead of seeking various ways to solve problems. They fear this inhibits independent thinking and innovation; which can ultimately leave kids behind the curve when it comes to career opportunities in our globally competitive job market. If kids don't have the opportunity to be creative when they're young, it's not going to dawn on them to suddenly start thinking in new ways when they're older." Kids who have artistic outlets are more likely to be successful adults because they see things differently.
As business people, they'll be able to apply creative solutions and think beyond the basics. While many parents want their children to excel in the basics, students who struggle with math, reading and science, often benefit from artistic expression. There are children who don't do well academically, but put them in a dance class or give them a paint brush and they connect with it. Suddenly, everything clicks. They start understanding math or English better because their brain has a new way to approach and interpret those subjects.
Speaking of brainpower, according to Americans for the Arts, students who participate in three hours of arts, three days a week for at least one year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. We tend to think of creativity as something optional we can scale back as children grow up, but it's much more valuable than that. When a child transforms a blank piece of paper into a colorful drawing, learns a song on the piano or memorizes a scene from a play, that's an enormous confidence booster. And that confidence changes everything.
Better grades, problem-solving skills and confidence are the positive side effects. Sounds like some very strong incentive to make sure you encourage your child's inner artist to come out and play on a very frequent basis.