Art education is fundamental to a well-rounded, positive child development. Unfortunately, school curriculum has shifted away from the arts drastically in the United States, which is why we focus on offering as many artistic outlets as possible. Some of the growth-related benefits of art activities include: decision-making, motor skills, visual learning, imagination, resourcefulness, cultural awareness, language development and improved academic abilities.
Art fuels critical-thinking, problem-solving skills and encourages inventiveness. Creating art also opens the doorway for communication and extended education. Children have the opportunity to learn colors, shapes and other words used to describe their art, what they see and how they feel. They’re able to practice making their own decisions. Seeing those choices they made come to life extends the desire to continue doing the same in other areas of life.
Younger and younger, children are learning how to operate smart phones and tablets, becoming overly stimulated by screens. Hands-on activities like sculpting with clay, painting, drawing and jewelry making supports visual-spatial perception. Using safety scissors also builds handiness and dexterity. It’s important to engage children with using their hands and focus their attention on dimensional objects in reality to balance the time spent on technology.
We live in an ever evolving, digital and multi-cultural society, bombarded with prompts from television, billboards, magazines and books. Images of various heritages and cultures in media, presents different messages. Toys, games and especially dolls of different colors, styles and textures of hair are vital to understand and embrace. Awareness of this graphic symbolism assists us in many ways.
Everything we absorb and express is through symbols. We use numbers, text, music notes, characters and other images to communicate. Whether it’s through signs and banners while driving on the road or navigating our consumerist world, learning to decipher logos and discern marketing propaganda helps to make more educated decisions.
Creating opportunities for children to explore the art world extends positive results well into adulthood. Visual arts students reported significantly higher levels of school attachment than non-visual arts students. Adolescents involved in the arts were also significantly less likely to be involved with the criminal justice system. Adults who had taken arts coursework were 26% less likely than those without high school arts coursework to have ever been arrested.
As adolescents, students of the arts are significantly more optimistic about their chances to attend college than non-arts students. Former arts students were 55.38% more likely to have attended any postsecondary school by adulthood. Students of the arts were 29% more likely than former non-arts students to have earned a four-year college degree by age 24-32. It’s evident that art education is important for our youth to experience; it is not a luxury, but a necessity.