As a mum of three children; a 15 year old girl, a 7 year old boy and a 20 month old girl; I cannot stress enough the importance of art, self expression and creativity for the ‘whole child’! By the term ‘whole child’ I mean their social, emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.
We live in a society today where social media is everywhere, it doesn’t stop when they come home, there are so many social pressures put onto children today, from goals set by our educational system to self image and social networks! The basic principles of art make you look (I mean really look!) at the world around us, it make you appreciate all the small elements that come together to make something beautiful. An artistic perspective arms a child with acceptance, a strong sense of self and the ability to see beauty in differences as a positive thing while able to analyse what they are presented with in order to make informed decisions.
Art evokes emotions, even when you hate it; you ‘hate’ it for a reason! Exposure to art and the process of art allows children to explore those emotions, ask themselves why, what made them feel that way and how they can change it? Art is empowering a child to develop those core strategies that help us manage whatever challenges life throws at us. As for self worth and feeling valued, through art a child can create something of such worth and feel so valued! If someone said you can have a Van Gogh, or your own child’s painting of a tree; I know which I would pick!
At first glance you would never think art could have any physical benefits; but just think from the moment your baby picks up their first crayon their fine motor skills are developing, and let’s not forget our back, neck and wrist muscle groups all working hard. Ever wonder why the Victorians wrote so well? They had slanted desks to aid their posture.
A child’s mental health and wellbeing is just as impotant as their physical wellbeing; it is what defines them, their character, what makes them unique. Through art a child learns to express themselves early on. Art has no right and wrong, it is based upon perspectives and how we see the world; through art a child can develop core beliefs that will guide their actions throughout life.