You might be wondering why art classes for kids are important for development, or you might be looking for a creative outlet for your child, or to build on their natural creative ability.
We’re here to dispel a number of myths about kids art. And to convince parents and caregivers that sending your kids to afterschool art classes could be the single best investment in their education you can make!
Before we take a look at what sort of art classes are available for your child, let’s look into why learning art and creativity is so important.
Why is Learning to Draw so Important for Kids?
Ever wondered why we’re so fascinated by neanderthal cave art?
Ever wondered why almost every toddler you’ve ever known plays with felts and crayons?
Or what about why, for many kids, drawing is as fun as imaginative play, messy play and construction play? And how kids can easily while away an hour hunched over a piece of paper drawing?
Well, learning to draw is a fundamental skill for children. In fact, Anita Taylor writing in The Guardian goes as far as saying drawing is essential for communication and expression:
As a primary visual language, essential for communication and expression, drawing is as important as the development of written and verbal skills.
And drawing goes far beyond our instinctive need to communicate in early childhood. Drawing is the base skill behind occupations as diverse as animation, architecture, engineering and marketing. In terms of their future, learning to draw for kids could be the most important thing!
What is Play-Based Learning?
Play-based learning is a whole new idea in education for young children (that’s Years 1-2 in the Australia and New Zealand system or Key Stage 1-2 in the UK system or Elementary School/First Grade in the US system).
Play-based learning has developed over a number of decades. It has some roots in the Montessori system, and has been expanded by a number of developmental and academic theorists. But the system has really evolved from this early work, and is now being pioneered in countries like Australia and New Zealand. There it’s been embraced by teachers and parents alike, and the entire early learning classroom system has been tipped on its head.
You can find out more about Play-Based learning in this article. But the important takeout here for parents is how important the development of children’s imagination, creativity, communication and social skills are in the early years. Play-based learning helps develop a child’s fascination and desire to discover the world around them, as well as instils a confidence to push the boundaries of their environment.
5, 6 and 7 year old kids don’t need to learn by rote how to read and write. They need to develop a love of learning. How to solve problems, and not be afraid to seek out creative solutions. Or how to use their environment to engineer new ways of doing things. And they need to learn how to communicate, and negotiate and work with each other to talk about their ideas, show what skills they have, and work together towards a goal.
This is the future of work. These are the base skills we need our future workers to have!
Phew, that’s a lot to take in I know! And thank goodness our education system is starting to recognise the importance of creativity, and is building this into the curriculum.
Unfortunately, schools have a long, long way to go to embrace the creative arts at the curriculum level. And this is where extra-curricular art classes come in.
Why are Kids’ Painting Classes Important?
No matter how future-focussed your child’s school is, it probably isn’t embracing the creative arts at a level that your child needs.
Let’s not mince words here, creative ideas are required for design-led thinking, and design-led thinking is rapidly changing every part of the world around us. When Steve Jobs, the brains behind Apple, the world’s largest tech company, says artists made his products great, we need to sit up and listen!
“Picasso had a saying. He said, ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”
So if the biggest technology company in the world wants to employ creative people to build its products, but our schools are still stuck trying to teach our kids to think like robots, we have a problem.
But as parents, it’s a problem we can sort by including creative and performing arts in your child’s education.
And you have options. From ballet to drama, from learning an instrument to circus school, from kid’s painting classes to creative art classes, parents have plenty of options to provide their kids a creative outlet.