Two of the pictures I posted yesterday were classroom art projects from our school auction earlier this year. This prompted a discussion with a colleague today about the place of and emphasis on visual arts in school.
Four years ago we had worked together to create a school wide art themed open house which was incredibly popular with everyone involved. (As I delivered my youngest child on the day of the open house I missed the final product. Oh well. Art is a lot about the process, right?)
Although I was never an art teacher, I taught a great deal of integrated art at different levels. And though I am not an academic with stacks of research to support why, I can tell you with great certainty, art is good. It is good for children’s motor skills. It is good to learn to visualize and problem solve. Art is good at building neural pathways through investigative learning. Art is good.
A year ago my family took a four-week Saturday class at Place des Arts – an amazing resource if you live locally. We worked with their incredible pottery teacher, who had as much patience with our two young children (then seven and three) as with the two clumsy parents accompanying them! He is a talented artist as well, but influenced me most when he made this simple statement: “All people need to make something- our lives have gone too far away from making.” Simple truths are the best, aren’t they?
The process of creating and making is part of the brain building process that leads to self esteem, self regulation and social skills- I have taught art to young children for seventeen years and can attest to the difference in a classroom filled with makers instead of takers. Hmm.
Go ahead – show your true colours. Paint your art out. Live colourfully. You are worth the time taken, and the kids deserve to see you risk your creative side too!