Art has traditionally been a very crucial and important part of early childhood development programs. Art activities are not important because they allow teachers to recognize children with unusual abilities but because they encourage both child's full and all-sided development (Froebel, 1826). Making art as well as enjoying art of the people and cultures are very important for the development of a whole child. The objectives of an early childhood art program should be fostering the development of children's aesthetic sense and engaging them in creative experiences. The challenge that the early childhood teachers faces is how to provide the activities that involve engaging children in both making and enjoying the art. Such activities should include among others; providing access to a classroom art center to provide opportunity for art appreciation, display children's artwork in a classroom gallery, involve families in the program, use reproductions so as to expose children to masterpiece art, taking field trips to museums and also engaging them in music. Young children need competence and integration across domains including words, using gestures, drawing and sculptures. They learn more through meaningful activities in which art is integrated with other subjects or content area.
Children from birth to about six years of age do not express music like adults. This age bracket is critical for learning how to unscramble the aural images of music as well as developing mental representations for organizing the music of the culture.
Early childhood is also the time when young children learn about their world better, primarily the magical play process. The substance of play in such younger children is usually comprised of the environmental objects and the experiences to which they have been exposed. There will be a continuous and ever richer spiral of exposure to new musical elements followed by the child's playful experimentation with these instruments if the music environment is sufficiently rich.
Teachers who work with young children educate the whole child, to make children become active, moving to music as part of art in childhood development can play a big part in children everyday school activities. Music and movement are fundamental aspects of children's play, so as they hear the music, they get the opportunities to enjoy moving, listening and singing the music.
Teachers should provide children with opportunities to verbalize and to visualize musical and play-related such as chanting, imitating sounds, patting, rocking, touching and moving. Young children benefit by experiencing music through their sense of hearing, feeling and by experimenting with their vocalization. Teaching children healthy habits is vital to maintain healthy weights and build strong muscles. Always engage children in music and encourage them to move with the music as this helps them appreciate the importance of vigorous healthy activities and eating healthy foods.
Teachers and even family members teach toddlers and preschoolers about healthy habits when they provide children with ample opportunities to eat healthy foods, involve them in healthy cooking activities, sharing with them how their bodies are growing and the importance of physical activities as well as encouraging them to build their physical motor skills. Young children are likely to participate at different levels in music and movement activities, some may just prefer listening to music some observe others move and others may join the activity.
Reminding children that art lives and breaths inside every segment of education also tweaks your lesson a bit. Create shapes with the children and involve them in adding up, subtracting, multiplying and dividing the shapes made. They will take the concept and turn it into art or even use the materials made for art. You can as well use some beautiful works of art with imaging technologies to introduce various lessons or concept and their brains will attach itself to such particulars much better than simply assigning homework and moving on to an exam. If your goal hinges on recruiting girls into scientific field, engage them in shooting rockets, create art shows and play with the bugs.
Children will feel a sense of emotional satisfaction when they are involved in art-making, whether modeling with clay, drawing with crayons or making a collage from recycled scraps. Deciding what they will make and which materials they will be using may be the first opportunity children have to make independent choices and decisions in life. Making art also builds their self-esteem by giving them opportunities to express what they are thinking and feeling and also helps them learn to accept criticism and praise from others.
Divide the children into small art groups so that they can practice important social skills like turn-taking, sharing and negotiating with others for materials. As you involve the children in art, they develop control of large and small muscle groups, for example, the large arm movements required for painting or drawing on large paper or the floor build coordination and strength. The smaller movements of fingers, hands and wrist when they cut model clay, draw or paint on smaller surfaces will develop their fine motor dexterity and control. As the children grow and develop, their art-making activities they have learnt move beyond exploring with their senses and they begin to involve the use of symbols. They begin presenting real objects, events and feelings in their artwork.
Parental involvement especially to the very young children is very important. When babies are awake, they can be nurtured through sounds, sights and even gentle touches, always take advantage of their facial expression such as smiling and frowning to express their needs. Respond to their voices, both soft and loud tones. Use contrasting images like white and black or even colored objects and voices, increase awareness of space, movement and sound by either hanging mobiles, playing soothing music for them or making animated faces. This makes them discover that they can also change what they see, hear and touch or that they can imitate the sounds produced. Through such arts, children can experience nontraditional modes of learning that can develop intrapersonal, interpersonal, spatial, kinesthetic and other logic activities, knowledge and skills since children learn in multiple ways and the activities they are involved in should reflect these multiple ways of knowing and doing.
Teachers may as well suggest at-home art projects for children and parents to participate in together. In such situations, teachers to provide all that is required for the home project in packet and a guide explaining the procedure should also accompany the materials so as the parent can read through to help the child come up with the expected project.
Once parents accept and acknowledge the value of art, they are able to keep art supplies at home. Statements parents make to their children's artwork can have a great impact on their attitudes and actions.
Drawing on direct physical and social experience as well as culturally transmitted knowledge to construct their own understanding of the world around them enables them to learn actively. Allow for child-initiated choices and action within the arts activity by engaging them in process-oriented activities to create, explore and reflect on their own understanding and experience in the arts. Reinforce early language and literacy skills by actively involving yourself in their activities. All adults are capable of enhancing or extending effectiveness of art activities with young children when they work together to create a learning community that includes art specialists, artists, parents, families care givers, teachers and educational consultants and planning arts activities that reinforce the learning activities of child care program, classroom and home settings including cultural events and customs.
Build upon the curricular goals and sequential skills of each artistic discipline and always make interdisciplinary connection with the learning across the subject area. This enables them become physically, emotionally and developmentally ready to perform or present his or her artwork. Allow them repeat and practice new skills and translate them to the subjects taught in the classrooms as this makes them have a real and long-term picture in their mind.
Seek the guidance of early childhood specialists so as to help you understand what children are capable of doing and that which they cannot do depending on their ages and their understanding about arts to avoid such situations when a child is given a task that he or she cannot perform. You should always try to be an advocate for quality art education experience through inquiring about and understanding the arts curriculum in the child's school as well as providing activities and materials to create, perform and respond to the children's own works of art. Development occurs in an orderly sequence with the later abilities, skills and knowledge building on those already or initially acquired and so, terms and explanations need to align with the developmental stages of children's ability to comprehend concrete versus abstract; understand metaphors, causality, connectedness and experience of empathy.
Children follow the same recognizable stages with typical behavioral patterns of development but still there is a very wide variation in the actual age at which individual child arrives at each successive stage and this makes every child a unique individual who enters the world with a different personality, temperament, learning style as well as genetic ability. Different children have different abilities and their learning to music, visual stimulation, physical activities and intellectual exercises vary too. Prescribing a project for children depends highly on their level of development and understanding of the assigned duty. This should be in line with what they are taught in class.
Classroom art center should provide opportunities for child-centered activities, teachers can suggest themes for the children but it should be noted that too much assistance interferes with the child's creative process. Adult models for children to follow are so frustrating to many children because they have not developed the fine motor and visual perceptual skills to replicate adult efforts, therefore, teachers are urged to encourage the young children to design, develop and complete their own projects by recognizing that, the same themes may be repeated severally as children explore ideas and practice skills.
Open-ended art materials like paint, crayons, scissors, markers, clay, glue, and assorted paper that support children-centered activities should be provided to them but too much of such may overwhelm them. Making a selection from two or three options at a time is very crucial as it enables the children to practice decision making.
Creative process always takes time and some children will complete their artwork within short time while others will need much time to design and assemble necessary requirements in order to complete their project.
The completed projects should be displayed in a classroom gallery so that they can get to see each others projects and learn to appreciate or criticize. A large bulletin board or wall space can provide a good backdrop for the gallery, children should take the responsibility to mount their completed work and select its placement in the gallery. They should be labeled in such a way that every work portrays the name of the artist, date and year of creation in order to provide a meaningful experience with print. Children who do not see their work rewarded or displayed lose motivation.
Taking children to museums could be challenging since muse...
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