One of my all time favorite things to do is to head into a classroom full of preschool students, sit them around a table and teach them how to draw. That would strike terror into the hearts of most people, but with training and a reasonable expectation of what is possible – it is a most remarkable experience.
Preschoolers doodle and draw as a form of communication and entertainment. While limited to often rainbows, smiley faces and basic shapes, these innate skills are the beginning of their visual and artistic vocabulary. Young children can benefit greatly from time spent learning to draw. Being trained to see and draw will expand the number of things they can draw, which in turn expands their ability to communicate verbally and visually.
Art is a critical component of education as well as a means of self-expression. Directed drawing, the process of step by step drawing instruction, is one component of art instruction and essential for building confidence and art skills. However, participation in directed drawing classes also helps develop observation skills, attention to detail, fine motor and organizational skills, as well as a strong visual vocabulary. These skills require time, patience and repetition to allow the child’s hands catch up to what the eyes can see.
As children we have so many ideas about what we want to be when we grow up. As parents we know our children’s dreams and plans will change as they grow and get to know themselves better. We strive to provide our kids the education and opportunities that will prepare them for whatever they decide to pursue. When children participate in the arts, music, dance or the visual arts, it’s not necessarily because they’ll be artists as adults – but because it’s key to a rich educational experience.
Bright yellow school buses on the roads again, reminding us all the school year has begun. Both children and parents enter a new school year full of expectation for our students. Many of those expectations will be met and great successes will abound. Sadly, some will not be met for a variety of reasons.
Art class is not just about art. Art and its foundational skill—drawing—is about reading and writing visually. When children learn to draw, they learn to see, evaluate and discern—visually. Many other subjects are affected by a child’s visual discernment and reading skills, such as math and reading.
Participating in theater is about so much more than playing dress-up. There are significant cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits to participating in live theater. Many of these benefits are just what our visual-spatial kids need, but are also a safe, fun way for our more auditory-sequential kids to develop their “other” side.