Children naturally love art – painting, drawing, making music, the theater. Unfortunately, when schools cut back on budgets, the arts are usually the first to go. It seems that schools do not appreciate the importance of art in building a kid’s brain.
Physiologically, the human brain consists of 2 parts, the left and the right hemisphere. The left brain is used in logical thinking and analytical processes. This is typically what is trained in school work that consists of math, reading and science. The right brain is used in emotional perception, intuition and creativity. It is the right brain that is mainly used when a person is involved in creative endeavors such as making art. It is this part of the brain that typical school environment neglects to train.
It is shown that when gifted kids solve problems in their areas of giftedness, there is increased electrical activity in both hemispheres. It appears that for the brain to be efficient, the two hemispheres of the brains must work together. By stimulating and exercising the right hemisphere of the brain, the arts strengthen the connection between the hemispheres. Kids should be exposed to the arts as their cognitive skills mature so that their right brain will be as developed as the left, and both hemispheres work in tandem, thus achieving the full potential of the mind.
Aside from the physiological effects, the New York Center for Arts Education also lists other benefits of exposing children to art:
Your kid learns to think creatively, with an open mind
Your kid learns to observe and describe, analyze and interpret
Your kid learns to express feelings, with or without words.
Your kid practices problem-solving skills, critical-thinking skills, dance, music, theater and art-making skills, language and vocabulary of the arts
Your kid discovers that there is more than one right answer, multiple points of view
School can be fun – playing can be learning
Your kid learns to collaborate with other children and with adults
Arts introduce children to cultures from around the world
Your kid can blossom and excel in the arts. Even with physical, emotional or learning challenges, can experience success in the arts.
Arts build confidence. Because there is not just one right way to make art, every child can feel pride in his or her original artistic creations.
Arts build community. Schools with a variety of differences can celebrate the arts as one community.
According to Kimberly Sheridan, Ed.D., coauthor of Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education, “”It’s not as easy to test the skills that children learn from the arts, but that doesn’t make them any less important”. She noted though that participating in a school arts program increases a child’s ability to:
Observe the world carefully and discard preconceptions in order to envision something and then create it
Go beyond just learning a skill to express a personal voice
Problem-solve and persist despite frustration and setbacks
Reflect on the results and ask what could improve them