Dr. Maria Montessori wrote “Free the child’s potential and you will transform him into the world”.
Her philosophy is something that we hold close to our hearts here at House on the Hill as we relate this to the art experiences we provide for the children in their preschool years.
Children are naturally inquisitive from birth. They make sense of what is happening around them by learning through observation and exploration. Through the process of art experiences, they make interpretations and form connection of how things work around their environment. These opportunities will also help to enhance their brain development and growth.
Engaging in art activities is also a form of self-directed discovery which fuels creativity in children. It encourages risk-free exploration and freedom, which helps to builds confidence. Free expression also enables children to express their emotions and feelings, especially when children are still learning to use words to verbalise their thoughts.
Art experiences in House on the Hill include activities that encourage children to explore through art elements such as lines, colours, shapes and textures. Examples of art activities include painting using crepe paper and foam, as well as crayon resin and cellophane collage.
In House on the Hill, we strongly believe in the importance of reuse, reduce and recycle materials in our daily activities. We are appreciative of the support coming from the parents to have recyclable materials passed on to the school for the children to be purposefully engaged with. For example, the use of plastic bottles bases and toilet cores are useful in the process of printing outlines.
Here are some suggestions of what adults can do to support in this process:
1.Support and don’t lead your child, allowing them to have freedom of choice to use materials in a safe environment
In House on the Hill, we do this via the well thought out lesson plans by the teachers. With the objectives of the lesson in mind, the next crucial component includes ensuring that preparation of the materials is ready before the lesson. The children have the freedom to be engaged in using the readily available art materials to work on their masterpieces.
2. Keep it open- ended, instead of having a specific expectation.
Let your child explore, experiment, and use their imagination. This is a crucial part of encouraging and building their creativity.
Focus on the process, not the product. Do encourage the effort of the child as the process of exploration is more important than the end product. Acknowledge the child’s effect in the process.
In the classroom our teachers use encouragement such as “I like the colours that you have chosen for your painting. They are colourful and vibrant”. This helps children to develop their self esteem and confidence. There is no right and wrong in Art Expression, every child has the ability to create their own unique art pieces. They are the masters of their artwork!
3. Art experiences in the home
Art experiences do not have to happen in school settings only. Besides the art activities we have written about in this article, other examples of art experiences you can try with your child at home includes monoprinting where the painted image is transferred to another sheet of paper, while the use of playdough encourages creativity, when they can build and construct 3D sculptures.
Lastly, an important takeaway for parents is to allow art discovery opportunities at home. They are a great way to encourage social-emotional development and enhancing fine motor skills. In addition, it creates moments for quality interaction and bonding with your children.
Do have a go with providing similar art discovery experiences at home and be amazed at the wonders that children will create!
Some suggested further reading: