All About Art: Nurturing Learners’ Artistic Pursuits
Art is what happens when we harness our imagination and express ourselves in different ways. Art offers limitless possibilities, empowering makers to share something that’s uniquely their own, what they think, feel, or wonder about. Creating art includes a diverse range of activities in visual arts, performance, movement and music. There is no one way to define what art means and the value it holds for people across cultures.
Jean Van’t Hul, author of “The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity” (2021), explains that art, according to educators, help promote fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and brain development, and can also be utilized to effectively teach subjects like reading, writing, math, and science. For therapists, art is a beneficial and safe way for children to process their thoughts and feelings about the world around them. It also provides them with essential sensory input.
She further writes, “art is important for its own sake—as a source of beauty and expression, as well as simply for the process of creating.” Parents consider it to be “vital to their families because it keeps everyone engaged and happy and helps with the sometimes difficult transitions of the day.” Children and youth may not know this definition but they embody it as they engage in artistic activities.
Art is indeed a valuable part of our everyday life and learning experiences. It’s amazing what learners can come up with when they draw, paint, or make an art piece with different materials found around them. Others may have a natural propensity for making music, singing, dancing or acting. Each learner has an artistic potential and a unique ability for creativity. It may start out with curiosity and exploration for most and some may continue on to pursue the arts later on in life, but how can we nurture our learners’ artistic pursuits?
We used the acronym ART to share some ways on how we can help our learners develop their artistic potential and keep their creative spark.
Allow learners to explore and indulge in their creativity.
Children have a natural desire to learn and explore. When we provide them with the time, space, and variety of materials, it sets them up for creative self-expression and staying deeply engaged in the process, even without adult directions.
Keep an arts and crafts box accessible with coloring materials, paint, and just about anything they can use like recycled boxes for their projects. Play music together and have instruments ready for them to play just for fun. Let them engage in imaginative play, wearing ready-made costumes or makeshift ones they made themselves. Have them freely discover new things and experiment with different kinds of media and different ways of doing art.
When we focus more on the process of making art, instead of the end product, learners get to really enjoy creating and learning altogether. One way of doing this is through using open-ended comments that draw out insights instead of responses that seem to evaluate their work. Adults can guide learners and show them techniques to build skills which are also essential for their development. However, it is also important to preserve their interest and intrinsic motivation that fuel lifelong learning and love for the arts while showing a sincere appreciation for their work.
Relate with other artists and their work.
Think about the different kinds of art other artists have created that you enjoy a lot or have added value to the way you view life and the world around you. It may be a piece of literature, a painting, a song, a play, or a sculpture. Appreciating the work of other artists can also inspire learners in their own creative pursuits. Visiting art galleries and museums and watching concerts, movies, and plays are some of the ways we can expose learners to the world of arts and gain inspiration from them.
Another helpful way to encourage our young artists is to surround them with peers who are also interested in the arts. Let them make friends with other artists whom they can collaborate with and who can motivate them to keep going in their creative endeavors. This also gives them a chance to share their work and appreciate others’ work, too.
Try out classes that would help learners hone their artistic talents.
Positive learning environments help learners thrive and develop their artistic gifts. Parents can support their budding artist’s interests through letting them join fun classes that inspire growth and are led by great educators who can guide them and help them develop their creativity and artistic skills. Joining a class also provides learners an opportunity to meet friends and stay connected with a supportive learning community who have similar interests.
Here at Northern Lights Academy, we are thrilled to have more new classes coming up in the field of arts. We have visual arts classes for learners from ages 4 to 18 years old who may be interested in holiday-themed crafts like St. Patrick’s Day, winter landscape painting, watercolour painting, crochet, graphic design, and a variety of photography classes. For performance arts, we offer a range of drama classes for each age group and private one-on-one lessons for musical theatre.
Our team, especially our passionate educators, would love to partner with families in nurturing learners’ artistic pursuits. Learn more and sign up for our arts classes or request a schedule that works for your learner and their friends.
Northern Lights Academy Team