Hello friends, we’re back with another Teach Me Tuesday. Today we’ll be talking about supporting your child’s development through art. As caregivers, we know first hand that the artistic process is about more than developing skill as a painter or sculptor, but let’s talk about what’s really going on as your child finger paints, cuts paper, and draws!
We’ve talked before about the four pillars that make up the California Preschool Standards: mathematics, social-emotional development, language/literacy, and English language development. There are also guidelines on age-appropriate development for the arts! We’re going to focus on visual art, but there are also guidelines on dance, drama, and music. And guess what- they are things you, our amazing caregivers, are already doing with your little ones!
At the early childhood stage, art education isn’t about formal study of artists or cookie cutter skills. Here at the children’s museum, our approach is to focus on the process and use art as a medium in which to develop language, critical thinking, and sensory skills.
Language– Let’s use our words to describe our art! Model descriptive language related to your child’s work to help them develop their own language skills. Comments like “I put a cow in front of the barn,” “I like the circles you drew- blue is my favorite color,” and “That house reminds me of grandma’s house” help your child make connections between what they see and what it means.
Sensory skills and motor skills– Toddlers and preschoolers are very in tune with how things feel. Give your child a variety of materials to work with- slippery finger paint, delicate chalk and crayons, ripped paper collages, and everything in between. Working with clay and painting help develop finger muscles and small motor skills, which are the foundation for learning how to write! And remember, your child’s work doesn’t have to look exactly like the Pinterest sample- it’s the process of learning and creating that is so valuable.
Literacy– How about extending an art activity by reading a book beforehand? We love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Press Here by Herve Tullet, and MIXED by Arree Chung.
We hope this helps you understand that the value of art goes far beyond crafts and doodles! What kind of art does your child enjoy? Share it in the comments below!