Art has a way of making a child's brain work differently than any other subject. It builds all kinds of helpful skills like, problem-solving, adaptability, flexibility, creativity, time-management, critical thinking and collaboration. All of these are essential in getting a job and flourishing in that career and their daily lives. The problems is that schools give very little time to art as a class. Labeled as a "special", "exploratory" or "elective" these classes take a back seat to "core" work and in order for art to truly make a difference in the way a brain works a young artist needs time and practice. Students need to see how art can be infused into their daily lives and projects. They need to be allowed time to make mistakes and then rework things. Beginning next year there will be several ways that this problem is addressed at South Middle School. The first is through an art leaders group that will be a select group of students that want to cultivate their artistic abilities in a very deep way that we will share with our school community. The second way that this problem will be addressed is through monthly before school workshops aimed at addressing a larger school population while still providing the flexibility of a shorter commitment and engaging art projects. The third way is with a dedicated gallery space within the school and online curated by students as a way of showcasing the work they are doing with pride.
Why Should my kid get lots of Art?
So that's all great right? We KNOW that art is good for kids! We know that participation in these activities makes them better at core subjects but maybe the problem lies in their confidence and ability and students resort to something their parents say... "I just can't draw..." The following is an excerpt research brief that I wrote in the Summer of 2017 about this problem.
"I can't draw!" the life or Death of a Child's art
“they simply have never been asked to explore an idea through art-making before and have no idea how to begin”
Picture a group of 27 bright-eyed young children. Now ask, “Who in here knows how to draw?” The result will be 27 excited little hands shooting up in the air, bouncing up and down, hollering for the opportunity to show their masterful skills. Ask this same question in front of a class of middle school kids and the exact opposite reaction is likely. There may be one or two who raise their hand with a hesitancy that says, “I can… but why do you want to know?” Somewhere along the way that childlike confidence is lost and many will resort to that good old standard phrase “I can’t even draw a stick person.” Some of this self-doubt simply comes out of psychological development, as children make sense of the world they begin to try to represent it by drawing what they know and can see. Viktor Lowenfeld’s 1947 edition of Creative and Mental Growth, describes how a child moves from scribbles to geometric shapes to identifiable pictures (Wachowiak & Clements, 2001) and due to the various paces in natural development, for some this comes easy and for others it is a struggle, thus potentially discouraging efforts due simply to the fact that someone else makes it look so easy!
List of Books to Help get those Creative Juices flowin':
Here are some books that I have read or that I'm currently reading that can help with incorporating creative thought and process into your life, classroom or home.