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7 reasons why art is important for child development9 min read

Art is fun and messy. Creativity is a way children can express themselves in several ways without being restricted, and it is perfect for your child in many ways.

As Sydney Clemens once said, “Art has the role in the education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else”. It couldn’t be more accurate; art allows children to be creative and explore their unique identities without judgement. To be who you are in a classroom environment from a young age.

Art has become less of a priority in many schools, preventing children from creating and exploring their imagination. Art is often overlooked as an essential subject.

At Japari, we want our pupils to gain a wholesome education, and that is why we provide art in our curriculum. Art gives children a way to communicate and develop confidence in the classroom.

At Japari, we allow our pupils to learn through creativity. Providing them a safe place to create art that is necessary for their development.

1. Improves motor skills

Enhanced motor skills with painting

One of the ways Japari provides art lessons is through using clay. Pupils have the freedom to pinch, roll, squeeze and mould clay into a rounded shape with the teacher’s assistance.

When pupils are given clay, they immediately begin to mould and shape it. Arts and crafts improve motor skills like gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.

Our pupils can explore their imaginations by creating patterns on their projects; this is great for hand-eye coordination. After a heating process, the clay will come out, and our pupils will paint them—another great way to explore their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Our pupils can explore their senses with touch, smell, sight and hearing.

2. Art helps language development

Precise painting

Art can help children develop their communication and vocabulary skills. It encourages them to talk about what they’re doing, colours, shapes, and more so that they get better at communicating and expanding their vocabulary.

Art also encourages pupils to grasp the world around them. Usually, our teacher will give our pupils a lesson while working on their art about the history of art. For example, she would explain where it came from and who still uses it today with pottery.

They become aware that they are in control and can influence how the project develops, opening the door to greater self-expression and imagination. 

In ancient times, people would transport water in handwoven baskets. The water, especially from rivers, would have some clay in it. As the clay dried out, it would take on the basket’s shape. Eventually, people realised that these clay linings could be used as sturdy containers. They gathered clay, shaped it, and baked it in the sun or hot ashes, sometimes decorating them with primitive tools. Thus, the first clay pots (and, by extension, all pottery) were born.

She then explained to our pupils that our ancestors had used them a lot in South African rural communities for carrying water or using as storage containers for milk and food.

A complete history lesson would be given to our pupils while they design and create their pottery, forming an excellent way to understand and ask questions. This encourages our pupils to have cultural awarness and understand different cultures and traditions around the world.

Another way language skills are developed when pupils describe and share their artwork. By explaining what their artwork means, they are communicating and developing an understanding of the work that they have done.

3. Art boosts confidence and awareness

Art enhances confidence

Working with clay is a great way to improve self-confidence, encourage self-expression, and develop necessary problem-solving skills. 

Clay allows a pupil to learn to repair mistakes and not be afraid to make them. The forgiving quality of clay, and the ability to fix errors, give the pupil a sense of control over their project’s success which improves self-esteem as they realise that mistakes aren’t going to stop their progress. 

We often see in classrooms that when pupils give feedback about other pupils’ artwork, it helps them build self-respect and learn to accept criticism or praise from others.

When your child puts their heart and soul into an creative project—and spends hours working on it and making it beautiful — they will feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when it’s complete.

Have you ever received an art piece from your child? That look of accomplishment and happiness for making it is what we mean, and putting their work on the mantelshelf makes them feel even more proud.

4. Develop an understanding from a math perspective

Patterns on pottery

Many core skills in art and math are closely related. Both require problem solving skills and the ability to recognise patterns.

Geometry offers the most apparent connection between mathematics and art.

Clay requires an understanding of the 3D three-dimensional world. We often encourage children to get up from their seats and walk to the other side of the table to see their creations from all sides. Therefore, they begin to understand shape, form, and perspective and get their first geometry lesson. 

5. Art is naturally calming

Calming way to create art

Did you know that art can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress? Not only does it help pupils feel calmer and happier while doing it, but also afterwards as well.

Art is a healthy way for them to express and cope with their emotions in a safe, calm manner. In fact, art has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels.

Clay has a uniquely therapeutic quality that we have seen settle and calms our pupils; it retains their attention for hours. This is a great way for our pupils to connect with their creativity and reduce their stress from the days work. Taking time to do nothing else but create art is an ideal way to unwind for our pupils.

We have found that our pupils become calmer after art and are able tocan cope with other work better.

6. Boosts social and emotional skills

student focusing on painting

Life isn’t always easy, and anything that helps pupils develop life skills to guide them along their path is vital. Some of the most important life and social skills can be taught through art. Creativity promotes teamwork and collaboration by providing common ground with other pupils in the classroom. Group projects teach pupils to take responsibility, while art projects generally teach pupils to follow directions and listen.

Art classes can be an excellent place for pupils to make friends and be able to be themselves. Identifying that everyone’s art will be different from theirs helps them understand that they are unique and different from others.

Art is a way to express yourself. By creating something you can show what you are feeling on a piece of paper, draw it out or mould it. This allows our pupils to express what they are feeling in a healthy environemnt.

7. Decision making

Pupil interacting with paint on pottery sculpture

Studies show art education strengthens pupils’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Creating art gives pupils choices and urges them to make decisions in developing their craft – a crucial skill that translates into other parts of life.

For example, exploration through art will encourage pupils to try new ideas in other areas of life. This will further spark creativity and imagination, but pupils can also use critical thinking to react to new experiences and problem-solve when necessary.

To wrap up

Student looking at art sculpture

Art is an essential subject at school that helps pupils express themselves in a safe and healthy environment. Art has many connections to English and Math and is a great way to have fun while learning. Our pupils enjoy their lessons thoroughly when it is time for art.

At Japari, we believe that art is essential in nurturing a child’s growth. It is incredible how the art projects are brought to life with our pupils’ creativity when they put their minds to it.

We believe that art has helped many of our pupils’ self-confidence, growth and self-esteem. We know that by implementing this subject into our cirriculum that it will help many pupils destress and enjoy their schooling at Japari.

References:

https://www.lakesidepottery.com/Pages/The-Importance-of-Clay-in-Children’s-Development.html

https://www.education.govt.nz/early-childhood/teaching-and-learning/learning-ideas/clay/

https://www.nvrc.ca/notices-events-blog/active-living-blog/why-playing-clay-great-your-childs-development

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the_art_of_creating_why_art_is_important_for_early_childhood_development#:~:text=Art%20can%20help%20children%20learn,following%20through%20on%20their%20plan.

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