Do you have a child that has a lot of test anxiety? Could you use a little help improving your child’s handwriting? Have you ever wondered what goes on in your brain when you are experiencing art or music? Are you looking for a way to give your visual thinker a creative outlet?
Is your child an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner? Understanding how your child learns will enable you to choose appropriate instruction and activities for your child. More than one child can mean more than one learning style but there are things you can do to be sure you’re reaching all the learners in your family.
All I wanted was to do art with kids — to teach and empower — to see their sweet faces light up with every new discovery. My young students thrived when they got the “how to” information they craved. And while teaching children how to draw, they taught me — again and again — how important art is to them. In my book, Being Visual, I talk about my 20 years experience teaching young kids how to draw by using their preferred learning style. The classes and teaching method were popular and effective, so I made a business out of it. But it’s never really been about the business.
I was recently invited to speak at a private school in Cleveland to share some thoughts from Being Visual. Having the opportunity to speak about Being Visual at a private school in Cleveland proved to be an amazing opportunity to witness first-hand how vital the role of art education is to a child’s successful academic career. Agnon is a wonderful school, with evidence all around that the arts are highly valued and considered key to a strong educational experience. While talking to the Headmaster, Jerry Isaak-Shapiro, I also found out about their integrated curriculum and commitment to minimal testing. The parents at this school are involved in their children’s education and seemed as committed to their own education, as they were to their children’s.
Recently, I was invited to be part of a teacher in-service at a local Montessori pre-school. We met in the evening, after the children had gone home. As I entered the classroom, I saw shelves lined with familiar Montessori activities—all colorful, well-organized and designed to entice young learners. There is a special place in my heart for Montessori pre-schools, because their teaching method includes techniques and tools that work well for a multitude of learning styles, especially our visual and kinesthetic learners. Their engaging activities get the children interested but are also designed to help children develop discrimination, sequencing and organization skills that are critical to successful learning.