Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The benefits of Art

It seems most of the children I teach in art, already love it and have an artistic bent. However, I've also taught the not so confident artist, and seen amazing things happen. The one thing I notice with all my students is their level of confidence, especially when they "learn" how to draw something and realize that they can draw after all. Or when they discover that they are really good at painting and learn how to mix great colors. Or see how much fun it is to shape and create things with clay. And especially, when they mess up and find out it's sometimes the "mess ups" are sometimes their favorite works of art.

Another thing I see all my students learn is patience and perseverance, and I remind them of this often. Some projects take weeks to complete, some paintings take many layers before they look like anything, and sometimes it's a takes a lot of hard work to completely cover your paper with chalk pastels. And if they have patience and persevere, they are rewarded with a piece of art that they created all by themselves and can't wait to show off.
In her book, Art for the Fun of It, Peggy Davison Jenkins lists 15 things your child learns from art. I think I have seen all these first hand, either with my students or my own children.
Develops creative thinking.
Provides means of communication and self-expression
Serves as an emotional release.
Strengthens the self-concept and confidence.
Increases self-understanding.
Heightens aesthetic awareness and sensitivity.
Enhances the ability to visualize.
Provides problem-solving/decisions-making opportunities.
Develops appreciation for the individuality of others.
Leads to integration of the individual.
Serves as a balance to classroom activities.
Aids physical coordination.
Develops work habits and a sense of responsibility.
Aids the adult in understanding and helping the child.
Generates joy.
If you'd like to learn more about the arts and kids, visit

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