Art is a very important way for children to learn.
Especially for young children, experiential learning is incredibly important! Not only does full-body learning keep young minds active and focused, but the act of movement is incredibly important to developing fine motor skills and learning how to move their bodies.
There’s also an interpersonal element of learning, too. In the past, we’re talked about using art to help young children express how they are feeling, or express concepts that they haven’t learned to talk about yet. But usually when we talk about the interpersonal value of art, we are talking about the children talking to us, the Early Childhood Educators. So, this time we decided to mix things up a bit.
No matter how you look at it, communication is one of the most important skills we learn in the early stages of life. Teamwork – being able to effectively communicate with your peers to accomplish a task – is an extension of that idea.
Our ECEs decided to use art to further build those communication skills. They asked all of the children to come to the art table, where they had laid out one large piece of paper. “Today we are painting a picture,” we told the children. “Together.”
Before starting anything, they had the children talk about what they wanted to paint. They showed them the colours they would use and the kinds of paintbrushes they had. Then, the ECEs purposefully only brought out enough paintbrushes for half of the group.
If you’ve ever tried to get young children to share, you know that there was a chance for this to go very, very badly. However, our ECEs were confident in their children. It turned out that they had every right to be: the children naturally started talking amongst themselves, taking turns without prompting and sharing the equipment and paper.
The children who weren’t painting at that moment were busy watching the picture take shape in front of them, talking about what they wanted to do when they got the brushes. And the children with the brushes were busy explaining what they were doing with each other and their friends who didn’t have a paintbrush.
We love moments like these, where art and children come together to create something truly amazing. Learning how to work together and share resources is a skill that these children will remember long after the painting has been finished.