August 20, 2017

Is It Ever Too Early For Art?

Early Art ClassRecently Bravo has made some changes to their art program and have opened up new art classes for children ages 3-5! These classes have been offered in response to parents expressing interest in their young child’s creative and artistic growth at an earlier age.

Some might ask if that might be a little early for them to begin art classes. I had to ask myself the same question when I was approached about doing it. Is it too early to begin? Does it stunt their creative process to teach skills at this age?

My experience with my own children and research on the topic has led me to believe that it is never too early, especially if done in the right way. The creative process for children starts at a very young age. My own children were raised with art all around them. I enjoyed painting their walls with fun murals and found ways for them to help in other creative activities around the house. My husband came home one day to a big plastic tablecloth on the kitchen floor and my children finger painting with chocolate pudding! It was a mess, and oh, so much fun! I scooped them up, put them in the tub and laugh about it now.

I have to admit I am a little biased when it comes to teaching art to little ones. I enjoy it as much as they do!

Art is also part of our preschool experience here at Bravo. I’m so glad they give the little ones this opportunity each time they come. I also teach preschool here at Bravo and for some students that have a hard time focusing, it’s often the one time I can get them to fully engage.

So let’s take a look at what makes people question the early exposure to art classes.

Some feel that it limits their creativity and free exploration. In some circumstances, rigid teachers may limit children with negative motivation and overly controlled methods of learning, focusing only on the elements and skill advancements rather than on creativity. Marvin Bartel, Ed.D, explains his reasons for why most people worry about a structured class for little ones.

“Most five year olds are totally confident that they can draw, sing, and dance. Tragically, within three or four years this child, if she is typical, will experience a crisis of confidence. She will no longer feel competent or creative. As teachers, we are often partly to blame for the diminished inclination to be creative as children become socialized and aware of their own limitations.”

I have to agree with that. In fact, when I came to work here at Bravo, I received special training where it was strongly suggested that as an art teacher I use positive feedback and limit any unnecessary personal critiques and negative criticism. We focus on praise and encouragement, and foster the child’s creative process.

While I agree that teaching basic skills will help them develop as young artists, I find that it is just as important to help them develop in creativity and personal expression. That is our goal here at Bravo in every class, but especially in the art program.

Bartel goes on to say,

“The world needs more and more compassionate creativity to solve difficult problems confronting us. Creative people do not have answers, but they habitually question the status quo and think about alternatives and improvements. They discover and invent possible answers. They habitually ask better questions. They have optimism. When combined with empathy and compassion, creativity is bound to be a force for good.”

Teaching creativity is vitally important if we desire a good life for all. Creativity is typically seen as an inherited disposition, but creating something spectacular is fun for any artist, whether they be 3 or 103!

-Aimee Jorgensen (Bravo Employee)

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