Art in Childhood – The Role of Parents

Feed your children the Arts! Just as children need good nutrition to succeed on a daily basis, they need their daily serving of the arts. Studies have shown that involvement in the arts helps children to increase test scores and promotes academic achievement. Children who are involved in the arts are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, elected to a class office within their schools, participate in a math and science fair, and win an award for school attendance.

It is during the child’s first two years that a large part of the pattern for adult life is set. The infant’s knowledge of the world is primarily based on physical interactions and experiences, according to Piaget. Parents and primary caregivers are the central figures in the lives of their children as they are the heart of their children’s universe. Parents play a vital role in children’s early education and their beliefs will determine the education of the child. Much time is spent in the creation of the child’s first identity or “sense of self” – how they see themselves and how they relate to others.

What is important are the feelings and actions of the child, not the outcome of the art project. If you put a child in front of an easel with 3 or 4 colors of tempera paint, he might paint with one color, or create a very colorful original painting. He might smell the paint, put his hands in it, and paint with his hands rather than the brush given to him. He might put paint on the picture and feel it. Doing what he wants to do gives him feelings of happiness, control and self worth. It could even help him relieve some frustrations and work out problems. His use of his many senses and emotions while involved in this project is the reason for doing the artwork.

It is important to expand the child’s experiences by visiting children’s museums and art galleries and having children’s art in the home, especially in the child’s own bedroom where he can pursue his fantasy daydreams. One of the most important things parents can do is provide opportunities for their children to be immersed in the arts. The arts allows children to develop creativity, self confidence, problem solving skills and abilities to relate to others. Being involved in the arts is also a great deal of fun!

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