It is no secret that children love to create art, whether it be a vibrant finger painting, an intricate drawing, or a striking sculpture made of clay. The visual arts hold a special place in many children’s hearts because they can get a little messy, play with colours and shapes, and express themselves freely. But, did you know that the arts have a plethora of benefits beyond just being fun?
The Emotional Benefits of Art
Albert Einstein once said, “I’m enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; imagination encircles the world.” The arts foster the child’s imagination and many great thinkers agree that without a colourful imagination, humanity’s biggest accomplishments would never have been possible.
The process of creating art has an impact on the child as well, as it allows them to create, imagine, learn, and collaborate. These experiences bring fulfillment and quality to a child’s life and lead to feelings of sheer joy and self-confidence. This process can also be linked to psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s, concept of flow as the child becomes completely immersed in the activity and feels enjoyment as well as an adequate level of challenge when making art.
According to Csíkszentmihályi, engaging in activities that bring a state of flow is essential to a person’s happiness.
The Benefits of Art on the Whole Child
In Arts Education for the Development of the Whole Child, Dr. Rena Uptis of Queens University found, “significant links between rich in-school arts programs and the creative, cognitive, and personal competencies needed for academic success.” Meaning that those students who participated in the arts gained the skills needed to be higher performers in other subjects at school. Furthermore, many studies support the notion that art education significantly increases children’s self-esteem and motivates them to stay in school.
The Benefits of Art on Metacognition
Metacognition refers to children’s ability to think about their own thinking and one of the basic metacognitive strategies is self-regulation. Self-regulation encompasses a set of habits that include monitoring, evaluating, guiding, and directing, one’s own learning. According to Uptis, “research has demonstrated how studying the arts can support the development of self-regulation. Self-regulation in the arts includes paying attention, using feedback effectively, problem-solving in a curricular context, taking risks, co-operating, and setting goals.” These competencies can transfer to the child’s academic pursuits thus making arts education quite valuable to a child’s experience at school.