WHY IS ART A PART OF YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATION?
Art is more than a mere extra subject. It is not just a fun activity that has no specific skills or objectives. Art and Design as a subject has significant value in primary education and throughout an individual's life. It can develop and enhance human aptitudes, abilities and skills. Art encourages us to be creative and imaginative. It can be a means of self expression and develop our perception of the world. Through Art we develop hand eye co-ordination and spatial awareness as well as our understanding of colour, tone, composition and size. Art helps us to develop the ability to describe and analyse what we can see and our feelings. It helps to form and support our viewpoints. In addition, art develops cultural enquiry and awareness, enabling us to engage visually in our world and to recognise non linguistic signs. For example, the following icons are quickly recognised across the world:
Art lessons in school encourage your child to explore and develop their ideas, and allow them to investigate and produce art as well as evaluate their end products. They will gain a knowledge and understanding of techniques, in addition to learning about artists and designers both past and present. Over their primary education they will have opportunities to develop their skills and learn new techniques in drawing, painting, collage, 3D modeling, printing, textiles and communicating ideas. Art and Design can be used to support learning in most subjects e.g. the teaching of shape in maths, a source of evidence in history, encouraging the development of vocabulary in learning a language, developing global awareness, communicating information in science through the creation of posters and expert boards, using graphics in ICT, etc.
At home, you can encourage your child in making their own art projects. You do not have to be artistic or have specific skills yourself. You can be creative with them or leave them to it. Vincent Van Gogh stated; "If you hear a voice within you say ' you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Remember that any piece of art is unique and therefore cannot be wrong! The art projects you do at home do not need to have a specific aim; they can be short or long; they can be completely open ended. It is the process of exploring and experimenting that is important. Resist the temptation of "leading” your child, instead be a " guide on the side." However, some children will want to watch and observe you use the materials before trying them for themselves. If your child should ask you, "Do you like it?" answer them with the question; "Do you like it? You are the artist." Try to give compliments rather than judgments, for example; " Look at all the colours of the rainbow you used." rather than " pretty colours." Also consider that art can break the boundaries; flowers do not have to be red and leaves do not have to be green. You can buy materials for art in High Street stores - (bargain shops can be a great resource). If you are buying paint, you can make all colours with the primary colours (red, yellow and blue) and black and white which can be used to darken or lighten colours. Mixing their own colours is a great way for a child to learn about colour theory and tones. You may find the following useful.
Red + yellow = orange
Blue + yellow = green
Blue + red = purple
Red + yellow + blue = brown
Blue + yellow + white = turquoise
Blue + red + white = mauve
Combine yellow or brown paint with red and white to create skin tones.
There are also recipes (many online) to make your own modeling dough which is cheaper than buying ready-made brands. You can also use magazines, wrapping paper, paper packaging and scraps of materials for collage projects, or up-cycle cereal or other boxes to make 3D sculptures. Do not worry about the mess - children are washable!
Put a large plastic cloth (plastic table cloths are good for this) underneath the area they are working in; use a tray for smaller projects or complete the art project in the bath. All of these can be easily cleaned. Alternatively set up the activity in the garden. You may also find it useful to have storage containers for your art materials and to encourage your child to help to tidy up with you. If you are outdoors use materials in the environment to create art e.g. create a beach sculpture. Encourage your child to record their environmental art by photographing it. After all photography is another form of Art and some children enjoying taking photos and editing them. Throughout towns and villages in Sussex and the UK, there are public pieces of art, art galleries and museums that can be visited for free. Discuss these with your child, explaining your viewpoint and thoughts and encouraging your child to do the same.
Art has significance in the lives of humans, old and young. It develops our creativity, it can bring understanding to the past, encourage us to question ourselves and help us to engage with the world. "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily off our souls." Pablo Picasso.