Does art have an impact on children?
I was wondering if any of you knew some good websites that have to do with how art effects children when they are young and in elementary school? Thank you!
Recent studies on school performance and childrens psychological development support the scientific basis for the promotion of arts and underscore the importance of art to inspire childrens imagination and creativity. New imaging technologies allow researchers to see inside the brain and witness the physiological impact of experience on brain activity and development. As a result, it is now known that brain development of children is sensitive to artistic stimulation and that these influences may be long lasting. Research shows that during childhood, billions of synapses or connections between neurons are being developed that lay the creative and communications groundwork for future learning. Consequently, if the arts are ignored or repressed in childhood, a unique opportunity is lost. Development Process ICAF concurs with field experts consensus that a childs natural or even learned cognitive processes can influence development for the better, both in the short and long term during a childs life. Some theorists believe that biological endowment and early experience combine to shape a young childs personality in ways that remain stable throughout much of life. Others believe that as the child grows, biological and cultural influences on personality are increasingly mediated through the childs own cognitive (or social-cognitive) processes, and therefore a person always retains the potential to alter the course of his or her own development. These experts say that people are not simply products of society, but are active participants in their own socialization. Therefore, all aspects of social behavior and development result from an interaction between an individuals own characteristics and his or her social experience. Development is indeed an active, dynamic process; to be more precise it is the interaction of many processes because development occurs simultaneously in a number of domains; the physical, the intellectual, the emotional, and the social. This rule applies to psychological as well as biological development, yet with differences in the patterns of growth. Although sometimes development takes a quantum jump, it is a continuum with advances upward and forward. Children are not miniature adults. The qualitative and quantitative changes that occur in the developmental continuum transform the child into an adult. What Is Creativity Creativity has been defined as the arrangement of preexisting forms, objects, and facts in a new order by conceptual and emotional activity of the mind. The essence of creativity is to find a new thing and use it in a new way. Art offers a most valuable and enjoyable opportunity for expression of imagination, fantasy, emotions, and creativity. The urge to create is universal. During the preschool years this urge is likely to be intense, and the creative spirit inherent in every child needs to be encouraged if his or her free expression is to survive. By age seven or eight, the childs drawing may reflect the realism slowly permeating his thought, making him more like most of us, lacking in spontaneity, imagination, and creativity - unless the danger is recognized and something is done to check the pull towards conformism. Although their vision is direct, fresh, and personal, childrens artwork during preschool years may not be looked upon as creative because the visual appeal of such artwork is often due to pure chance, not technical ability. Unfortunately, by the age of seven or eight, which has been referred to as the magic years or the flowering for child art, most children lose spontaneity and artistic creativity. (J. H. Dileo, MD. Child Development: Analysis and Synthesis, Brunner/Mazel Publishers, NY, 1977). This is often because of fundamental changes in the childs goals and orientation, the preference for words as mode of self-expression and infusion of the need to reproduce exactly what they see and observe. Limits can be placed on childrens creativity by an educational system that encourages imitation in learning rather than spontaneity and creative imagination. It is not enough to expose children to good art. They must make art if they are to benefit. Red Alert on Diminishing Creativity Because of this research, ICAF believes that 8- to 12-year-olds are at a critical point in their development. Some field experts have assessed that in many cases creativity actually diminishes with age. Eight- to twelve-year-olds become increasingly realistic and practical and more concerned about how their work will be evaluated by peers and adults. It is imperative that they retain some of the spontaneity and imaginative expression of their earlier childhood years. Critical Importance of Child Art Art can play an effective role in contributing to the intellectual, emotional and aesthetic life of children. Art can supplement, if not surpass, the spoken word as a medium of communication. Child development experts agree that visual arts are valuable because of their unique attribute of presenting content all at once. In a painting, for example, composition, color and relationships are simultaneously presented to the viewer. Through artworks, children reveal their preferences and attitudes, which in turn reflect their values and those of their societies. This attribute of art is instrumental for ICAF because of the foundations objective to promote global communication among children of all cultures through the universal language of art. Art can be timeless and universal. Art can be a unifying principle. Each child may observe an object in a peculiar way or may uniquely express it in art form. But when artworks are displayed, they transcend the language the artist knows and speaks, his race and creed, his gender and age, his community and nationality. This universality of art can bond children and adults in celebrating the creativity, the imagination and the spirit of mankind. ICAF is aware that a proactively art-rich life is even more important today because children are influenced by high-tech graphics and special effects on television and websites and in movies and computer games. In this age of rapidly advancing technology, children are often confused and uncertain about the value and acceptance of their own personal imagination and creativity. One expert has observed that teaching a child to paint is teaching a child to see. The following observations by other field experts reveal the importance of child art: Child art has the power to improve academic performance by enticing students into the learning process because confidence and recognition achieved in art are reflected in other subject areas. Child art leads to good work habits because painting and drawing involve concentration and cultivate self-discipline. Child art involves creative discovery and self-expression because students learn how to address problems in innovative ways. Child art lets adults know how children are growing, intellectually and emotionally. Child art helps students understand their own as well as other cultures. Child art makes leisure enjoyable and meaningful for students. Child Art & Adult Art Child art has not only fascinated prominent artists, but has been inspirational for some great masters. The interest in child art goes back to the Romantic Movement when the so-called naivete of a childs creation was interpreted as genius because children could see the truth and express it. In awe of the instinctive awareness of children, many masters tried to emulate the childs objectivity, unself-conscious expression, whimsical creativity and simplicity of form. From the turn of the twentieth century to the onset of World War I, child art was prominently exhibited in important art centers around Europe every year. Many old masters openly acknowledged the impact of child art on their works. Many modern masters also confess their fascination with and attraction to it. Professor Jonathan Fineberg observed that "many prominent artists, including Kadinsky, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miro have been intensely interested in the art of children collecting it, exhibiting it (sometimes along their own work), and most important of all, taking specific formal cues from it Since the mid-60s, increasing number of artists, ranging from Jasper Johns to Jonathan Borofsky, from Joseph Beuys to Jean-Michel Basquiat, have turned to childhood thought patterns as a way of experiencing the world with greater directness. Indeed, it is clear that many artists today seek a richer, more authentic experience of the present through encounter with the childs "innocent" eye." (The Innocent Eye, ARTnews, April 1995). The impact of child art is evident both in the masters works and words: Id like to study the drawing of kids. Thats where the truth is, without a doubt. - Andre Derain I always entreat the good Lord to give me my childhood back, that is to say, to grant that I may see nature and render it like a child, without prejudice. - Camille Corot The artist has to look at life as he did when he was a child and if he loses that faculty, he cannot express himself in an original, that is, personal way. - Henri Matisse The older I get and the more I master the medium, the more I return to my earliest experiences. I think that at the end of my life I will recover all the force of my childhood. - Joan Miro It took me a whole lifetime to learn to draw like children. - Pablo Picasso It is clear that activities aimed at promoting child art also support adult art. By paying attention to child art an adult can focus on the origins of his or her own creative mind. The freshness of a childs vision may refresh, invigorate and enlighten an adults creative perspective and style. The Joy of Art as Play In play, children learn to cooperate, to share, to delay gratification of their impulses, and to imagine themselves in the roles of other people. Play has much value for a childs social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Naturally, a major change occurs in play as children develop from preschool age to early elementary school years. A new form of play appears where the players compete to win the game. Such games are of major importance in terms of childrens social and intellectual development. Competitive creative activities can help nourish personality characteristics in children which include persistence, self-confidence, independence of judgment, flexibility, openness to new experiences, tolerance of ambiguity, and even a good sense of humor. Creative children are more likely to be playfully curious about the world.
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