I teach art once a week in the Montessori House, a English language private kindergarten. My “students” are adorable toddlers aged 2 to 5 who love when I tell them they need to put their aprons on which they quickly translate in “yeah today we can get messy!”. But more than learning art these children learn through art meaning they develop their capacity for
- Creative solution finding
- Personal, social and emotional expression
- Communication, Language and literacy
- Mathematical rationalization through proportions, colour links, volume, etc..
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
- Physical development and fine tuning of eye-hand connections, eye nerve development, etc…
One day, I took an oil painting my grand-father made a long time ago to school. It is a classic flowers in a vase painting and I offered the children to come an touch it. I wanted them to feel the layers of paint with their hands. One of my students a four year old boy who is very shy and serious-faced child came forward and when touching the painting game me the biggest smile. He then went to his seat and made a very good rendering of the painting while until then he had made mostly straight lines. Seeing him open up was a great pleasure and I even wrote a note on the back of his picture to the parents to frame this!
This is why art is important for everyone! It really annoys me to see how kids start censoring themselves around the age of 8 or 9 saying that they are not good at art. In the end we cannot all be Michel-Angelo but we can all enjoy making art, coming up with ideas, expressing ourselves even if the result is not necessarily worth showing in a gallery! Although I think the art on the picture above, a flower field done by the 4-5 year olds with glued kitchen paper and paint is worth that!