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The Importance of Art for Children

Young boy painting at Montessori school in Rockville
Artistic exploration is one area of childhood development that often gets overlooked. Especially since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Common Core Standards, many schools have been forced to eliminate arts programs in an effort to reroute funds to more “important” subjects, such as math and reading. However, this move away from visual arts programs can be extremely detrimental to a child’s development.

Children are innately creative and curious individuals: By removing the possibility for them to further explore that creativity through the arts, the result can be an underdeveloped or unfulfilled individual. Montessori schools are among the remaining educational institutions that understand the importance of art education, identifying its value in developing specific skill sets and further preparing students for future academic success.

Skills Learned Through Preschool & Kindergarten Artistic Exploration

When it comes to artistic expression, there’s a lot more at play than what meets the eye. More than giving children the freedom to explore their personal interests and creativity, art classes help develop a wide variety of important life skills, including:

  • Fine Motor Skills: Manipulating a paintbrush is a lot more complex than utilizing a pencil, and the more artistic media students explore, the more fine-tuned their motor skills will become.
  • Cognitive Development: As students create art, they learn about things like cause and effect, patterning, and other important cognitive skills.
  • Language Skills: Children love to describe and explain their creations, providing them with additional opportunities to develop language skills.
  • Positive Choices: Through creative exploration, children have the opportunity to make meaningful choices that lead to a positive outcome with their work.
  • Self-Discipline: Art can be a painstaking process that requires a lot of attention, patience, and self-control, and art participation helps reinforce these skills — especially in small children.

While these skills can be learned through alternative means, art is one of the most effective methods for instilling these concepts in young children because of its entertaining and colorful nature. Perhaps more important than providing children the opportunity to explore self-expression through art is the lens through which artistic exploration is taught.

Process-Oriented Art vs. Product-Oriented Art & the Montessori Principles

There are two different schools of thought when it comes to art instruction: process-oriented art and product-oriented art. The latter places an emphasis on the end result, with art teachers more focused on children producing something that is aesthetically pleasing and orderly rather than giving them full creative license. While following instructions to reach a final result is an important skill to learn, artistic exploration should be more about self-expression and creation than “following the rules.”

By contrast, Montessori schools tend to enforce process-oriented art. This structure allows children to express themselves freely without focusing on the final results. Rather than being told what they can or should create, children are given the materials to explore and create something completely unique to them. In addition, providing children with a way to showcase their art and explain their creations is essential for implementing a successful art program.

Norbeck Montessori’s Fine Arts Program for Rockville Students

At Norbeck Montessori, our team of highly skilled artistic educators makes process-oriented art instruction a part of their everyday curriculum. We encourage all preschool- and kindergarten-aged children to explore their creativity through the visual arts, providing them with a means to not only create but showcase their newfound capabilities. Our artistic education department provides students with the opportunity to use real art materials, including canvas, clay, paint, and much more.

For more information about our fine arts programs, contact our Rockville preschool by calling 301-924-4233 today!

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