Children and the Arts
Children Learn through Play
are active learners; they learn through play. The art area is a place
to play. A piece of paper at the art table or easel is a playground
and crayons, markers, and paints become play tools. Scraps for collage
and construction, play dough, and clay also serve as creative tools
for play and self-expression.
Children need opportunities to develop their own marks and symbols while drawing, painting, and making three-dimensional projects as their own imagination directs them. Some children have not been encouraged to do so or have not been given the opportunity and time. Many children and adults are taught to think there is only one way to use visual art tools and materials. Although the child needs to be shown skills and the safe use of tools, adults should value any willingness by the child to improvise and experiment. Many young children show a preference and aptitude for the expressive arts. These spatial, musical, and kinesthetic intelligences, as identified by Howard Gardner (1993), need to be nurtured and encouraged.
"Children and the Arts" includes sections entitled Children's Art Develops through Play, and The Cycle of Learning. This chapter also discusses the development of children's art and emergent writing.