"He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV
Welcome back to Unstructured Play Week on Christian Teacher, Public School! Yesterday we rambled through the alfalfa field to a sandy beach in the middle of an Idaho creek. Today, we do art!
|By my daughter, then three years old|
|My middle son drawing|
Twelve Suggestions for Grown-ups in the Lives of Young Artists:
- Don't criticize. (You might be thinking, "You mean 'Don't criticize much.'" No. I mean, "Don't criticize." Let the artist grow first. It doesn't mean you have to praise every effort highly. Simply nurture. You don't prune a sprout).
- Nurture resilience: artists grow by failing and trying again.
- Be sincere.
- Find the good and engage with it. When a child presents you with a drawing of a clearly human yet ill-formed creature with scraggly hair and no nose, it's time to say "Now, I should recognize this person, shouldn't I? Look at that big smile!" instead of "Who is that supposed to be?" (Note, it might be a drawing of you, so be careful!)
- Teach children to observe. Simply seeing the world around them is the most important skill kids can learn if they wish to pursue art.
- Allow derivative work. A child draws a scene from My Little Pony or Angry Birds. Should you freak out because of copyright violation? No. The child is not going to sell the work. When it's time to go pro, then emphasize originality.
- Provide the tools. You are the one with the classroom supply budget (I hope you have a good
By my son, age 9
- Help with the cleanup. This means training the child to clean up after him- or herself, and then stepping up to assist when needed. The training part is tedious, but neglect it to your peril.
- Be calm when some aspect of the art adventure gets out of hand. It sends a mixed message to kids when one minute you're praising their drawing and the next you're yelling at them for making a mess. Send one message all the time: "I love that you love art!" For Christians, it helps to keep in mind that God is the Creator; a child's creativity is a reflection of God's power and beauty. Be still.
- Help find display venues; supply hardware and help.
- Recognize talent. There may be that one student in a class of twenty-five who clearly needs to be an artist. Do your part to help ensure art stays in his or her life for the long haul.
- Refer to the child as an artist, not a child who "wants to be an artist."
|By my daughter at age 11|
If you know more ways parents and teachers can encourage children who are artists, please share them!