When it comes to preschool art, think outside the lines and far beyond the finger paint!
Art may seem like a basic preschool staple, but it is much more. In fact, art is often the first vehicle that truly invites children to view life differently. Through art, children enter a world of beauty, color and diversity.
Children build critical preschool thinking skills as they examine famous masterpieces. As children see, think and wonder about art, they also investigate new ways to communicate their own feelings and ideas. At Koti Academy, when they enter our childcare center, they are invited to create sculptures, drawings, paintings and collages. Children explore the basic principles of art: line, shape, color, texture, space and structure. And most importantly, they have opportunities to create and use art as a language of self expression.
Visual Thinking Strategies
Art techniques such as print-making, painting, sculpting, stenciling, cubism, pointillism, mixing colors
How to use many pieces to create a whole
How to appreciate art made by others (famous artists and friends)
How to encourage peers in the creation process
How to plan, find supplies, make choices and express ideas through art
Friedrich Froebel established the first kindergarten in 1840 under the principle that children have unique needs and capabilities that can be expressed through creative play. He believed that art supports a young child’s “full and all-sided development” (Froebel, 1826). By creating art, a child builds:
independence and self-confidence when deciding what materials to use (Schirrmacher, 1998; Seefeldt, 1993).
self-esteem by expressing feelings and thoughts (Klein, 1991; Sautter, 1994).
cognitive skills when deciding what to create, what materials to use, how to manipulate the materials and how to evaluate a creation.
As children get older, their art evolves from a sensory exploration to a symbolic representation of an idea. Drawing and painting allow children to symbolize what they know, find interesting or beautiful. Art helps children express themselves particularly when their vocabulary, written or verbal, may be limited (de la Roche, 1996). As they create, young children develop control of large and small muscles (Koster, 1997).
A variety of tools and materials help children increase eye-hand coordination (Koster, 1997). As children decide how to make parts fit together into a whole and where to place objects, they develop the skills needed for forming letters and spacing words in future writing practices.
Through art, they investigate nature, animals, the body, feelings and even objects that fill their surrounding environment. By studying paintings, children begin to make the connection “between reality and art—someone’s interpretation of reality” (Dighe, Calomiris, & Van Zutphen, 1998, p. 5).
Visual-thinking strategies are part of an inquiry-based teaching method developed at Harvard’s Project Zero to support deeper critical-thinking skills. Children see art, describe what they think about it and then investigate their ideas or wonders.
What are the Elements and Principles of the Visual Arts?
Line: thick, thin, wavy, straight, soft, hard, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, jagged, parallel
Shape: geometric, organic, rectangle, square, circle, round, curvy, fluid, symmetrical, spiral
Color: primary, secondary, complementary, warm, cool, light, dark
Texture: rough, smooth, bumpy, fuzzy, prickly
Space: two-dimensional, three-dimensional, foreground, background, overlap
Structure: proportion, balance, contrast, repetition
Register today for a tour of Koti Academy to see children's artwork filling the childcare center and explore and how beauty and imagination is nurtured throughout the preschool.