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The Value of Having Art in the Early Education Curriculum

By Amanda Caraway, Community Engagement Manager |

Incorporating art into an early learning curriculum has many benefits for children of all ages. If you think about the skills necessary to create a work of art it becomes clear how doing art can enhance mental, emotional, and physical development.

Doing visual art requires children to think creatively, plan ahead, solve problems, and make adjustments on the fly. It can also be a powerful tool for improving communication and expression. Asking a child open-ended questions about what they are creating invites them to explain what they see and intend to create without restrictions. Any format used to create art, from painting to playdough, also helps improve fine motor skills.

Our kids made beaded bracelets as one art project.

Music, dance, and creative performance can all help children develop fine motor skills and improve communication and expression. For example, dancing can help kids work out their feelings by doing a dance that reflects a certain emotion—happy, angry, frustrated, or silly dancing are just a few examples.

Learn more here.

Our ClackCoKids teachers love using art as a teaching tool. To illustrate, we’re going to highlight just two of our teachers who are doing great things.

Andanelly is an Early Head Start teacher with a creative approach to artistic learning. Her students have been focusing on how clothing is made. As part of that program, they learned about sheep and wool. The kids then created their own sheep using cotton balls, popsicle sticks, eyes, and glue. No two sheep were alike.

Adanelly with her students

The kids also learned about cotton and used yarn to create pants and scarves. They also got to tie-dye some shirts as a form of expression. And that is what Andanelly likes the most about using art in the classroom. She loves watching the kids express themselves and most kids will tell you an elaborate story about what inspired a work of art.

This is even true of kids who are more shy and less likely to engage. Andanelly remembers one little girl in particular who rarely talked and participated in any games or activities. That is unless the activity was art!

Christina is another ClackCoKids teacher who is doing unique things with art in the classroom. She has discovered that her kids love to make and then play with slime.

Because the kids make the slime themselves, it also helps them learn math and the skills needed to measure ingredients. Christina has also seen many sensory benefits come from this activity. She encourages her kids to talk about how the slime sounds, feels, looks, and smells.

Christina says the kids really use their imaginations when they play with slime. For example, when they made blue slime, the kids wanted to incorporate ocean animals and toys into the play.

In addition to her engaging ways of using slime, Christina also likes to have the kids use nontraditional art tools. For example, they used celery stocks for one of their projects. She had the kids use the leaves on the tops of the celery as a paintbrush and then the flat bottoms as a stamp.

The sky is the limit when it comes to art at ClackCoKids!