Pretty paper project

There are many ways to see and interpret the world.  The visual arts provide young children opportunities to develop their creative thinking through the media they explore.   Children need time to explore materials and build skills; therefore, open-ended explorations with paint, drawing tools, collage and sculptural materials are regular parts of the art program throughout the school.   In all art activities the process of discovery and expression is what is import rather than the end product.

According to the National Art Education Association, young children get enormous value from opportunities to experiment with art materials.  Children exhibit a sense of joy and excitement as they learn to work with various tools, materials, and media.   They learn to coordinate their hands and minds in explorations of the visual world.  They learn to make choices that enhance communication of their ideas.  Their natural inquisitiveness is promoted, and they learn the value of perseverance.   They demonstrate delight and enthusiasm as they create and then share their work with others.

In Art for the Fun of It: A Guide for Teaching Young Children (1992), P.D. Jenkins provides a superb description of MCNS' position about art and its value for children:

  • Art helps develop creative thinking
  • Art provides the means for communication and self-expression
  • Art strengthens a child's self-concept and confidence
  • Art increases self-understanding
  • Art heightens aesthetic awareness of the environment
  • Art enhances the ability to visualize
  • Art provides problem-solving and decision-making opportunities
  • Art serves as a balance to other classroom activities
  • Art aids physical coordination
  • Art develops work habits and a sense of responsibility
  • Art aids the adult in understanding and helping children
  • Art generates joy and delight in children

Open-ended, gently-guided but not directed art activities with varied and sufficient materials provide all these benefits.

Highlight and click images below to see full size to see examples of children's art.