Visual Arts in Early Childhood
Art is an important part of Early Childhood programs. Here at Henderson International School, art is part of our weekly curriculum for many different reasons. Artistic endeavors and explorations are not only fun, but educational as well. Art allows our young students to practice a wide range of skills that are useful not only for life, but also for learning.
Skills students practice when participating in art activities include:
- Fine motor skills: Grasping pencils, crayons, chalk and paintbrushes helps children develop their fine motor muscles. This development will help your child with writing, buttoning a coat, tying shoelaces, and other tasks that require controlled movements.
- Cognitive development: Art can help children learn and practice skills like patterning and cause and effect (i.e., “If I push very hard with a crayon the color is darker.”). They can also practice critical thinking skills by making a mental plan or picture of what they intend to create and following through on their plan.
- Math skills: Children can learn, create and begin to understand concepts like size, shape, geometry, measurement, making comparisons, counting and spatial reasoning.
- Language skills: As children describe and share their artwork, as well as their process for making it, they develop language skills. You can encourage this development by actively listening and asking open-ended questions in return. It is also a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary words regarding their project (i.e., texture).
Froebel, the father of kindergarten, believed that young children should be involved in both making their own art and enjoying the art of others. To Froebel, art activities were important, not because they allowed teachers to recognize children with unusual abilities, but because they encouraged each child’s “full and all-sided development”.
Our curriculum includes activities that will help children develop their fine, cognitive, math and language skills. It gives them opportunities to express what they are thinking and feeling. When children participate in art activities with classmates, the feedback they give to each other builds self-esteem by helping them learn to accept criticism and praise from others.
This month Early Childhood students are involved in a collaborative project with Ms. Laurie Mallon, our Lower School Visual Arts teacher. Each classroom is painting a beautiful canvas sketched by Ms. Mallon. The art works are inspired by master artists such as Picasso, Warhool, Van Gogh and Dahli. They will be donated to our PTA to be auctioned at the Silent Auction on March 6.
The students are enjoying their visits to the Lower School Art Studio. These visits serve a few purposes. Students are introduced to the Lower School Art Studio as a bridging exercise into Kindergarten. Our students enjoy a sense of satisfaction while involved in making art with their classmates. And we generate some student-created artwork that parents hopefully enjoying purchasing for the benefit of our wonderful PTA.
Ms. Lizette Fiumara, Early Childhood Team Leader