Watching preschoolers let loose in our art studio is definitely one of the greatest parts of running a childcare centre. While one three-year-old might draw a series of careful, Picasso-like faces, another might finger-paint with abandon – or build elaborate structures out of modelling clay and glitter. The great news is, your child’s artistic adventures are ever-changing, and it’s all part of exploring and fostering your little one’s deep curiosity and potential as strong, capable and resilient.
Art in early childhood is actually key in your child’s education. A good visual play program as part of daycare or preschool will innovate and inspire your child’s interest in their world and his or her place in it. Here are just a few of the benefits of your child doing art and visual play.
Becoming school ready
Your child’s artworks are about far more than having a good time at childcare! He or she is getting used to textures such as finger paints or ripped paper – and learning skills such as how to use a paint brush, glue stuff or colour in. This helps in the development of all kinds of fine motor skills they’ll use later for writing. Similarly, counting colours and art materials teaches memory and maths basics. And of course, mixing yellow and blue to make green is all about science!
Better problem-solving skills
Your four-year-old can’t master a drawing of her favourite toy and keeps having a tantrum. Your three-year-old’s toilet-roll sculpture broke, leaving him in tears. While upsetting, experiments that end in failure can teach children new ways of thinking and problem-solving that will serve them far beyond the arts studio and childcare in general.
Learning to socialise and collaborate
Doing art alongside other children at childcare can really help to improve your little one’s social skills and self-esteem – and if they’re collaborating on an art project together, can teach them about how to share, how to work as a team and be responsible for cleaning up. Essential for those upcoming school years!
Small children often find it difficult to express how they’re feeling. This is where creative and visual play comes in. Your child may draw things out of proportion to exacerbate items of importance, or use certain colours to show feelings they can’t verbalise. A safe space at childcare with nurturing carers can be essential in helping children explore and express themselves.
Producing something colourful, beautiful or just plain wacky in an art and craft session is pleasurable no matter how old you are. To a young child, though, creative play is a pure delight through seeing what their little hands can produce. So visual, creative play can only boost a child’s self-confidence and stimulate their imagination even further.
Making essential brain connections
The squishy feel of paint or playdough between your fingers, the scratchy sound of a crayon against paper, the look of different colours on your palette… research shows that all these things stimulate a child’s brain and activate their senses, increasing neural connections. It’s thought artistic activities are especially important for younger children (under 3) with highly sensitive, developing brains. They’re also coming to understand that pictures represent situations or things in their real life (this is known as representational thinking).
Do you do art at home with your child or are you happy for the mess to mostly happens at childcare? (If yes, no judgement – we understand!)