Unlocking Creativity and Expression: The Essential Role of Art in STEAM Education
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
“Art is about letting go” – Susie Beghin
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, our mission is to create a nurturing and safe space where every child feels at home. We understand the significance of holistic education, especially during the formative years of early childhood. As young minds develop rapidly, we recognize the importance of providing the best learning environment to support their growth and development.
Childhood is a time of exploration, curiosity, and boundless creativity. That’s why we believe in child-initiated and teacher-supported learning experiences that encourage children to be active participants in their education. Our commitment to fostering a love of learning led us to develop the Four Pillars of Learning: Language & Literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), Physical Activity & Nutrition, and Mindful Awareness.
While traditional STEM education focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, we believe that incorporating the Arts (A) into the equation is vital. The Arts, in the context of STEAM, play a transformative role in nurturing creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in children.
Art is often misunderstood or underappreciated as a vital component of learning. Some may view art as an extra-curricular activity or mere creative play, not realizing its significant contributions to a child’s development. However, we firmly believe that art is not just about drawing or painting; it is about the creative process and fostering imagination.
For instance, art and creativity are fundamental to engineering. Engineers need to think outside the box, innovate, and find solutions to complex problems. Art allows children to think creatively, develop original ideas, and view challenges from various perspectives, which are essential skills for future engineers.
Art is also a process-oriented activity rather than a product-oriented one. It encourages children to explore their imagination, experiment with different materials, and express themselves freely. The act of creating art builds fine motor skills as children learn to hold crayons and paintbrushes. Through art, they learn to communicate their thoughts and emotions, developing their language and self-expression abilities.
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we emphasize the importance of providing opportunities for children to engage in art freely. There should be no pressure to create a specific end product; instead, we focus on allowing children to explore and experiment with materials independently. Art is about letting go, embracing creativity, and embracing the joy of the process itself.
There are countless art ideas that children can explore, from painting and drawing to molding and collage-making. We provide various materials, such as markers, child-safe scissors, paint, glue, feathers, and pompoms, to ignite children’s imagination and creativity. By providing open-ended materials, we empower children to choose how they want to participate and let their creativity flow.
We also integrate art with other STEAM components to create a multidimensional learning experience. For instance, while making an animal out of clay (art), we can build the animal’s home (engineering), learn about its characteristics (science), find pictures of the animal on the computer (technology), and measure its size (math). This interdisciplinary approach enhances children’s understanding and application of knowledge. You can find out more about how to incorporate art into STEAM in Susie’s book, Learn To Play.
Art is not just crafts; it goes beyond following instructions and specific outcomes. We emphasize the process of making art, encouraging children to explore different materials and techniques. For instance, instead of merely painting on paper, we might encourage children to paint with a straw on a cardboard box, adding multiple dimensions to the experience.
Incorporating the Arts into STEAM education allows us to nurture creativity, self-expression, and problem-solving skills in children. It sets the stage for future innovation and exploration, fostering a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we celebrate art as a vital aspect of our holistic approach to education, empowering children to become confident, creative, and compassionate individuals.
For more information on our Four Pillars of Learning, or to book a tour, please contact us at https://www.alphasdiscoveryclub.com/contact/ or call us at 905-823-8257.