Through the courses that I have taken and the books that I have read these past few months, many of them have reminded me of how simple it can be to inspire your child's artistic abilities as well as the many benefits of keeping art simple and open with no preconceived end. When an example of what you want the child to create is shown, which is typical of early childhood programs and often expected from parents in order to bring home a 'finished' product, the child's creativity is often lost while they try to replicate the teacher or parents work. Offering a single colour of paint with a variety of materials to use in order to paint can lead the child to expand their creative abilities and imagination at the same time. Their art then becomes a life experience for them and a means of self expression. Quite often a child will spend more time in an open ended art area as they can explore until they have reached completion on their own terms.
This year, children in the Nursery School program will be exposed to the writing centre each day where they can choose to colour or write at will as well as an art room before and / or after snack time. The children will have free choice as to whether they would like to have snack or begin art and then can freely move between rooms as they are finished either their snack or their art project. My hope is that this will encourage those children who really are not very interested in art to dip their toes into various art mediums and find which techniques do inspire them. Likewise, those children who can spend all day being creative will have greater opportunity to do so. A variety of art mediums will be presented to the children throughout the school year for them to explore each day.
A key aspect in encouraging creativity lies in how a parent talks to their children about their art. When these masterpieces are shown to the families at the end of the program the most powerful question you can ask is "Can you tell me about your art?" This leaves the child open to explaining exactly what it is they see - some days it can be as simple as a line or other days it might be an entire scene from their imagination. Please try to avoid guessing what your child has made, this can only end with the child feeling self conscious or negative about their abilities.
Another important aspect of encouraging creativity is displaying your child's art supplies and their art work. For art supplies, the more you can leave at the child's level, the easier it is for them to choose art as an activity when they are looking for something to do. Likewise having a cupboard or shelf with art materials organized can make starting a project quick and easy. There really are many creative ways to display your child's art in your home. From picture frames on a wall in your home for an ever changing gallery, to hanging wires with clothes pins to hang art or taking pictures of the art and creating a digital album, the ideas are endless. For some ideas on organizing your art area and displaying art check out this link.
I am so very excited about seeing some of the creative ideas that come from the students this year! I would also love to hear how you encourage art as well as display art in your home. I am still looking for the perfect wall to display all of Ewan's creations!
Just a reminder, there are still a handful of afternoon Nursery School Spaces available and classes begin next week. For more details click here.
Also, there are three weeks left in A Gym Tale's IPad and Drop In Pass Giveaway - keep those likes coming!