At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we understand the importance of educating children using a wholistic approach. Art is a key component of our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) program which is one of our four pillars of learning. We believe that incorporating art into everyday learning is essential. It can encompass science, math, language, engineering and more. Art builds creative skills which are essential to success in all other subject areas. A good scientist, mathematician or engineer must also have creative skills. Art allows children to explore and learn, be creative and use their imagination.

It is important for educators and parents to foster this learning. Art projects can be as simple as a crayon and a piece of paper or as complex as making a nature scene from cutting out pictures and gluing them to paper.

Preschoolers and toddlers do not care about the finished product. They love the creating process, from smearing paint with their fingers on paper to gluing pom poms to a box. It can be hard for parents and educators alike, to sit back and allow the process to happen. We naturally want the sun in the sky and the tree on the ground and not the reverse.

As kids manipulate a paintbrush, their fine motor skills improve. By counting pieces and colors, they learn the basics of math. When children experiment with materials, they dabble in science. Most important perhaps, when kids feel good while they are creating, art helps boost self- confidence. And children who feel able to experiment and to make mistakes feel free to invent new ways of thinking, which extends their learning well beyond the art project.

Art helps children develop their fine motor skills by grasping a pencil or crayon, a paintbrush or chalk. This developing skill will help your child to button their coat or to begin writing. Art activates the critical thinking part of the brain. Children begin to understand that their actions have consequences; if I push harder with the crayon, the colour gets darker. It teaches children to match concepts, like size, shape, they can make comparisons to other items they are using.

What can you do as a parent to build these skills? Having children describe their artwork to you is a great form of communication. It allows them to use their language skills as they process what they have made. You can assist them in learning new words as you ask them questions about their project. Giving children a creative outlet allows them to relieve stress and work through things happening in their lives. Encouraging children to be artistic and express themselves helps facilitate learning and self-esteem.

It is hard as adults not to draw for our children. Instead of drawing your own version of a tree besides theirs, try copying them. Draw the same picture as they are. Make big scribbles, draw big lines and small lines. If children are focused on what the adult is drawing, it takes away from their artwork.

Think about this, if you were at an event and you were told what to wear, how to sit, what to drink, what to eat and how to dance, would it be enjoyable? Ensure that you are giving children choices. Let them decide the materials they want and how and when they want to use them. You have to be prepared for a mess. Have the proper area available and let your child explore. It is okay if they peel the paper off the crayon and roll it along the paper. It’s okay if you provided a paintbrush and they use their fingers. Always focus on the process and not the  product. Let them know they are doing a great job and that you love their artwork. Your voice
will always be your child’s inner voice.

Art is about letting it go. As long as your child is safe (i.e. Not running with scissors), let them
explore. This may involve letting them sharpen the pencil crayon for 15 minutes or 15 times
during a 20-minute experience, but children learn best through play and exploration.

Visit our curriculum page for more information about how we incorporate art into our four pillars of learning through STEAM curriculum. We have truly developed an exceptional program that focuses on the child as a whole. We believe that language, literacy, STEAM and mindfulness can provide children a path for continuous growth.