Art Influences Learning
Much has been written about how art enhances creativity, imagination, and self-esteem, but far less is said about how art encourages cognition, critical thinking, and learning. Our current education system places great emphasis on academic development. As a result, arts programs are being reduced or even eliminated from classrooms to accommodate more didactic teaching methods. While art educators and child development specialists recognize that the arts are not a "frill" or enrichment activity, the arts are basic to education. With the many challenges our public education system faces today, combining art with academic subjects in the classroom becomes increasingly important. The ministry of Education recently published a report on "The Value Added Benefits of the Arts," in which he states, "Studies have shown that arts teaching and learning can increase student's cognitive and social development. The arts can be a critical link for students in developing the crucial thinking skills and motivations they need to achieve at higher levels".
How Art Impacts Learning Outcomes
What makes art such a great teaching tool? Art engages children's senses in open-ended play and develops Cognitive, Social, Emotional and Sensory-Motor skills. Art is a cooperative learning experience that provides pleasure, challenge, and a sense of mastery. Instruction in the arts is one of the best ways in which to involve the different modes of learning; through art, children learn complex thinking skills and master developmental tasks.
Child development is a sequential process: Children progress from simple to complex abilities. Art activities provide children with sensory learning experiences they can master at their own rate. Art materials and techniques range from the simplest to the most complex. Young scholars can explore dozens of non-toxic art materials directly with their hands or with a myriad of painting and clay tools. Older...
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