When your child joins a childcare center they soon discover all the art material available to them (play dough, crayons, markers, various kinds of paint, glue, glitter and scrap paper). As teachers, we appreciate the value of exposing the children to art. Here are just a few examples of what they are learning:
- Using drawing tools and manipulating doughs build their small motor skills to develop the dexterity needed for writing and other self-help skills.
- The children use their cognitive skills while learning about shapes and colors (even creating new colors on their own).
- They practice social skills while sharing, taking turns and working together to use the material.
- It allows the teachers to follow the children’s stage of development moving from scribble art (making “random” lines, dots or marks), then moving into “controlled” scribbles and finally they can “name the scribble”. Such as, “Look, I made an A, like in my name”. Then, the children begin to draw more “representative” art. Creating circles, squares and lines to represent things in their world. For example, a circle and two lines may represent a body with arms or legs.
- Lastly, when the children work in the art area it builds on their creativity and problem solving. When the children see in their mind’s eye how they want their creation to come out, they find ways to make it happen. Therefore, each piece of art is a way to express themselves.
When the children are creating, they show great pride in their work. Even when a drawing is left on the table, without a name on it to claim it, all we need to do is hold it up and ask, “Who does this belong to?” And the owner will race over to claim it. There are great benefits to the children doing art, but at times, the parents get overwhelmed by all the amount of papers in their child’s cubby. There have even been times when we’ve seen some parents throw their child’s art in the trash, as they pack up their backpack to go home and before they retrieved their child. However, when their child sees them doing this, they get upset.
We get it, the amount of artwork your child creates and wants to bring home can be overwhelming. When I was growing up, there were five kids in my family. It was unrealistic to hang up all our artwork. So, our mom bought us each a portfolio. We could only display one piece of our artwork at a time, but everything else was put into our portfolios. Then, when the portfolio was bursting at its seams, it was our decision what to throw out. Often this task was easy, because we got to see our own growth and some of our art seemed too babyish by then.
In our book, Dear Daycare Parent, we suggest keeping memories and special projects, without the clutter, by taking a picture and starting a scrapbook. Recently, I came across an article that offers other ideas to save or display your child’s artwork. (Read the story here). While using some of these ideas, you’ll be able to keep those treasured creations for your child to enjoy in the future!