Tangible, immersive approaches to learning, such as those undertaken in art classes, have been proven to aid children’s cognitive, emotional, and physical development. However, painting in particular has been shown to enhance dexterity, concentration, communication and independence. Not to mention helping children to convey their ideas, express emotions, and explore processes and outcomes.
Here, we take a look at how you can use painting in the classroom to aid development in early years.
Firstly, ensure you aren’t placing any limitations on creativity. For example, if you continue to provide little ones with the same selection of paints and equipment week in and week out, they will quickly become disinterested in the activity. In a similar vein, don’t let your arts and crafts corner become part of the furniture. Spark curiosity by introducing new materials, canvases and painting methods to keep things fresh and exciting. By doing this, you will be encouraging students to experiment and explore different resources and creative processes.
Painting is a simple activity that can be undertaken anywhere, so why not vary the classroom setting and allow students to create work outdoors? Make use of open spaces to create larger collaborative pieces with students working together in groups, helping to improve social skills.
Allow children to use a variety of paints and tools to apply them with. From brushes to rollers and sponges, powder paints to bubble and print painting techniques; there are lots of options to choose from.
What’s more, art and craft activities don’t have to be restricted to a blank piece of paper either. In addition to changing the medium, try varying the surfaces used too with wood panels, plastic sheets, or even leaves.
A teacher’s role is vital to encourage expression through painting especially as young children often look for affirmation before continuing. Ammie Flexen, freelance artist and early years trainer, comments: “Painting is a continuous sequence of mixing colour and selecting the colour, making choices, adding the mark to the paper and then observing and reflecting. Being present, sitting quietly and acknowledging when a child looks for confirmation is enough.”
Finding the right balance between offering assistance and allowing students freedom to create their own work is paramount for development through art.