10 Lessons The Arts Teach- National Art Education Association

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” –Pablo Picasso

In this technology focused era with over scheduled days, excessive workloads for students and parents and trimmed school budgets, it’s easy to ignore the importance of art in child development. This importance doesn’t hinge on whether a child has “talent”, rather it’s about “creativity” and fostering a child’s ability to express themselves and create a meaningful experience. Through these meaningful experiences, whether by art, sports, or music, they develop cognitive, social, problem-solving, communication and emotional skills-key ingredients for developing a healthy child.

Parents can encourage children to participate and get interested in art in a variety of ways. At home, having art supplies available and accessible is vital in engaging children.  Though art can get messy and supplies can create clutter, accessibility and freedom to create are important variables in the art process. Parents need to get involved, whether taking the time to create art with your kids or viewing art at a local museum, parental involvement determines how much art a child is exposed to outside of school.

According to the National Art Education Association, here are 10 Lessons the Arts Teach:

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.

3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.

7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

10. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. NAEA grants reprint permission for this excerpt from Ten Lessons with proper acknowledgment of its source and NAEA. https://www.arteducators.org/advocacy/10-lessons-the-arts-teach

Whether you sign your child up for a class, take them to the museum, or sit in the driveway with sidewalk chalk, participate and engage in art with your children. These experiences will foster a deep and rich inner growth in children that you will not regret As Picasso said, “The important thing is to create.”

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