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The Importance of Art Education
In the recent past, educators have appreciated the shift away from the heavy emphasis on common core subjects like math and reading towards more subtle school curriculum elements like the arts. This is especially the case amongst children of kindergarten age given that simple and creative aspects associated with the arts should not be considered as a luxury but a critical building block towards holistic child development (Greenea and Sawilowsky 215). This literature review addresses the positive correlation between art and student learning as well as the benefits of incorporating art into purposeful cognitive and psychomotor learning amongst kindergarten learners.
The Correlation between Art and Student Learning
Teachers in a kindergarten setting primarily use art as a means to communicate with learners. According to Frey (para 3-4), through art, learners are accorded the opportunity to communicate their intricate and unique feelings and experiences to the outside world. By inspiring kindergarteners to make careful observations on what they perceive from a given art form, the teacher is able to inspire them to take steps further. Experiencing the art expressed by others, children are taught to be keen observers and to think critically on what they are able to perceive through their sense and comprehend in their minds. It also accords the teacher to actualize child centered learning models as learners are transformed into active and respectful listeners during classroom discussion involving peers (Fernandez para 9). This is in line with observations made by Frey (para 6-8) that for kindergarten aged learners, engaging in art for learning not only empowers them with finer understanding of visual images but also supports further learning outcomes. These include greater potential for learning relative to reading and math as well as enhanced social-emotional development and growth.
Arts is a vast discipline. According to Kisida, Bowen, and Greene (197) for early childhood education avenues like kindergartens, arts participation should not be resigned to the visual arts. Instead, it should be expanded to include theatre, dance, and music in an effort to bring the best out of the learner’s neurocognitive development, academic skills, as well as social-emotional development (Kisida, Bowen, and Greene 197). Bautista, Moreno-Nunez, Bull, amsah, and Koh (277) underscore that the significance of arts in education has been recognized since the moments of classic philosophers like Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Plato. It is not only a critical elements of the cultural heritage manifested through various societies but also fundamental to the holistic development of children. It has the propensity to transform learning into a nourishing attribute of growth and development in children. For instance, it generates non-academic advantages like enhanced self-esteem, motivation, decision making or problem solving, emotional expression, cultural awareness, appreciation of diversity and social harmony (Bautista 277). In this regard, its impact on learning amongst kindergarten students is profound given its capacity to appraise creative as well as aesthetic self-expression.
Learning through Art
Children are born wired for learning. Greenea and Sawilowsky (215) highlight the fact that a lot of growth and development relative to personality and intelligence occurs before a child is aged five years. This strongly implies the significance of optimized learning outcomes for kindergarteners given that these are years that determine the degree of success relative to lifetime development (Greenea and Sawilowsky 215). For instance, learning through art supports the development of eye-hand coordination as well as other components of their physical being. Relative to their cognitive domain, students tend to determine their pace of learning based on their aptitude for creative arts which the educator can capitalize on to further reinforce development of fine motor skills (Beaver, Wyatt, and Jackman 136). For instance, the integration of visual art in learning allows learners to associate classroom experiences with pleasure derived from learning activities that directly stimulate senses thus positively impacting on ease of concrete expression concerning their ideas and feelings.
Cognitive and Psychomotor Learning
It is common to encounter kindergarten classroom awash with different materials manifesting various properties. Some are malleable while other combine differ colors while other learning tools interact with paper in peculiar ways. It is through experiences that learners encounter within the kindergarten learning environment that play a critical role in their cognitive development (Greenea and Sawilowsky 216). The wide varieties of learning experiences associated with arts in a kindergarten classroom cultivate complex reasoning capacities in learners. These include use of graphic displays of the human figure to identify attributes associated with different body parts or even noticing variation and differences between supplies and materials presented to them.
Art stimulates high levels of excitement among kindergartners as they are highly appealing to their senses. The outcome is the opportunity for teachers to incorporate psychomotor learning through use of art in the classroom (Beaver, Wyatt, and Jackman 322). In this way, there is purposeful dissemination of physical language constructed through experimenting with art related materials. Different materials tend to impact various muscle groups in a variety of ways resulting in the refinement of fine motor skills (Beaver, Wyatt, and Jackman 308). For instance, using paint brushes allows the learner to develop arm as well as wrist control.
Art serves numerous purposes in human society. For educators serving kindergarteners, art plays a far more valuable purpose in furthering the achievement of desirable learning outcomes. Art stimulates the senses among kindergarteners making it a suitable tool for use by educators to enhance both cognitive and psychomotor development amongst learners. Its impact on kindergarten learning is multifaceted as it also allows non educational benefits like emotional expression and innate motivation for learning.
Bautista, Alfredo, et al. “Arts-related pedagogies in preschool education: An Asian perspective.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 45 (2018): 277-288.
Fernandez, Keith J. Putting children in charge of learning. 30 Jan, 2019: https://gulfnews.com/uae/education/putting-children-in-charge-of-learning-1.1548851721168
Frey Susan. Art appreciation helps young children learn to think and express ideas. 9 April, 2015: https://edsource.org/2015/art-appreciation-helps-young-children-learn-to-think-and-express-ideas/77734
Greene, Mary Lou, and Shlomo Sawilowsky. “Integrating the arts into head start classrooms produces positive impacts on kindergarten readiness.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly45 (2018): 215-223.
Jackman, Hilda, Nancy Beaver, and Susan Wyatt. Early education curriculum: A child’s connection to the world. Cengage Learning, 2014.
Kisida, Brian, Daniel H. Bowen, and Jay P. Greene. “Cultivating interest in art: Causal effects of arts exposure during early childhood.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly45 (2018): 197-203.