Preschool is widely viewed as a time to prepare your child for entering the more formal educational structure associated with kindergarten. And so, you might think that stress should be placed on learning letters, numbers, and other groundwork for math and reading skills that they’ll learn next year. However, many preschool programs in Franklin, TN, place a great deal of emphasis on art. There is an excellent reason for this, as art plays a vital role in early childhood development. Keep reading to find out how.
Develop Fine Motor Skills
Preschool-aged children are still mastering their fine motor skills — skills that will be essential when it’s time to start picking up a pencil to practice writing letters and numbers. Art allows your child to master those skills in a fun and creative way. Grasping crayons, chalk, pencils, markers, and paintbrushes help your child practice grasping, holding, and utilizing tools in much the same way they would while writing. Even finger-painting teaches them important control over their extremities.
These skills that they practice during arts and crafts will be vital when they begin practicing forming letters and numbers, as they’ll have better control of their fingers and be more familiar with the proper way to hold a writing utensil. These skills are also important for other fine-motor activities, like buttoning or zipping a coat and even tying shoelaces.
Art isn’t just great for creative expression. It can also help young children to develop cognitively. They’ll be able to practice skills like pattern recognition, as well as cause and effect. Critical thinking also comes into play, as they can make a plan for what they want to create, then recognize and follow through with the necessary steps to create the image they envisioned.
The ability to recognize an image and recreate it on paper is an important sign of brain development in young children. Most children begin to draw recognizable symbols of the world around them (e.g., very simplistic stick figures) at about four years old, so this is something they should be practicing in their preschool years.
Early Math Skills
While your preschooler obviously won’t be doing any adding and subtracting during art time, they will be learning skills that lay the groundwork for later mathematics. Through art, they can begin to grasp concepts related to size, shape, counting, comparisons, and spatial reasoning, all of which will be important as they enter kindergarten.
Art is also important for language development in preschoolers and is something parents can help with. When your child shows you their artwork, ask them to describe it to you and tell you their process for creating it. Actively listen and ask open-ended questions about what they’ve created. This encourages memory, process recall, and overall communication skills.
So, if you’re sending your child to a Franklin, TN, preschool this year, don’t dismiss the time that they spend doing art as “playtime.” Art is an essential part of your preschooler’s early learning and development and will help prepare them for a more traditional learning curriculum in kindergarten. If you have questions about how we utilize art in our preschool, or looking to enroll, please contact THE Children’s Academy in Franklin at (615) 790-2273