by: Michael Kabel
For however much children learn about the fundamentals of education – reading, writing, math skills, and everything else – there's a certain esoteric dimension to their upbringing that modern parents shouldn't neglect. Teaching children about art, music, and other creative endeavors can be confusing and even intimidating for parents, but it's nonetheless incredibly worthwhile.
Art nurtures the child's mind.
The benefits of teaching your child about the arts are complex and too numerous to describe. Suffice to say, children who are allowed to develop their creative side reap benefits to their critical thinking skills, to their hand-eye coordination, their facility for concentration, and especially their self-esteem.
If as an adult you're familiar with the sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something original, and you imagine that rush combined with the power of discovery – that's the effect of creating art for a child.
Formal art training isn't necessary for the basics.
A big stumbling block for many parents is the mistaken belief that they need some form of formal art training to encourage their children to create or appreciate art. Yet education experts and artists agree that children need only a basic understanding of the creative process to send them on their way.
Another common misconception is that children need talent to enjoy creating. In truth, most artists will tell you the creative process is as much as about working as it revolves around the "nspirational" impulse. In other words, talent is irrelevant when it comes to young children. The important thing is that they reap its benefits.
How to select the right art program.
Painting, sculpting, and drawing are all essentially intuitive skills, but there are many art programs for children set up by universities, colleges, and other institutions that help kids nurture their budding artistic prowess. Parents should consider such programs as supplements to normal schooling as well as superb activities for summer vacation.
When considering a program, parents should consider the costs for the kinds of creative efforts being taught: costs of supplies and materials, classroom usage, equipment rental, and so forth. Parents should also remember that there are no guarantees in art: enrolling in an art program will not guarantee the child becomes a prodigy or that they'll flourish in such surroundings. Instead, the goal should be on letting the child follow their creative impulses in a nourishing atmosphere.
Other steps to take in getting arts into your child's life.
Besides creating art, there are lots of different ways to broaden your child's arts education, including:
-Trips to local museums and galleries: going to the museum is a fantastic weekend excursion and a time to bond with your children, as you take in the works and get a sense of art's scale and power.
-Shopping at the art supply store: this lets children experience the creation of art at a basic level, as they see the tools and supplies needed to paint, sculpt, and draw. It might also help them divine what kind of art they want to approach before classes or training begins.
-Trips to local crafts fairs and shows: while perhaps not as "fine art" as a trip to the museum or gallery, treating your child to such artisan events also inspires their creativity.