How Art Projects Help Young Kids Develop Important Science Skills
It is widely known that young children benefit from nursery school and pre-K programs. That may be common knowledge, but the particulars aren't. How exactly does early education help?
There are a lot of answers to that question. One of the biggest ways these programs help is by exposing kids to the arts. Nurturing toddlers' interest and engagement in the arts is even more advantageous than you might think. Emerging research shows that children who complete art projects better grasp science and math concepts. Learn more below.
An Integrated Approach Is The Best Approach
"Pulling from historical examples of artist-scientists like Leonardo da Vinci, and contemporary examples like the beautiful designs of Apple technology, advocates argue that art and science are deeply related, and we should be teaching them together," Popular Science writes.
Knowing that the two go hand-in-hand is an opportunity for educators. Educators can start with an introduction to art and accessible art projects. For example, simple, straightforward activities, like giving kids crayons or markers and asking them to draw what they see through the window or while sitting outside is a great start. The exploration of medium, color, and recreating a scene reinforces artistic and scientific principles.
Art Inspires Scientific Curiosity
Every day, the average four-year-old asks as many as 437 questions. Asking questions is one of the first steps of the scientific process. Quality nursery schools and preschools celebrate questions and nurture children's curiosity.
Art encourages kids to ask questions about the world around them. For example, if children are drawing or painting bugs and animals they see outside, the act of painting them may cause them to stop and question why animals have four legs and insects have six. They may wonder why birds have wings and can fly while other animals cannot. This questioning is a healthy part of your toddler's development.
Instructors can also seize the opportunity to ask their own questions and teach their pupils to be even more curious and resourceful. In one instance, while working with construction paper, crayons, safety scissors, and glue, teachers asked kids to make whatever they'd like and have fun doing it. Many kids drew on the paper or cut shapes out of it. Then the teachers challenged them to think of other things they could do with the materials. This prompted children to create paper tubes, paper planes, and paper chains as well. This demonstrates that art can get kids to think critically and in different ways the same way that science experiments can.
Art Bolsters Observational Skills
Art projects teach kids to pay more attention to their surroundings. Teachers can maximize these benefits by asking children to describe what they are drawing. Instead of drawing a dog and calling it a day, teachers may encourage kids to describe the dog. They may ask what sound a dog makes, whether it has feathers, scales, skin, or fur, and what colors they chose to color the dog and why. This teaches focus and observational skills -- skills that benefit children in science classes down the road.
Plus, tactile or sensory art projects set the stage for science. "Paints run, flow, and drip. Clay is soft and pliable one day and dry the next," Scholastic explains. Drawing kids' attention to sensory information and changes builds the foundation for critical thinking and experimentation as well.
Art Improves Memory
Art can also serve the same purpose as a mnemonic, making it easier to recall and retain information. Instead of simply introducing scientific concepts, nursery school teachers can encourage kids to draw a chart, make a collage, or come up with a short song to remember their lessons. For example, kids are more likely to remember the plant life cycle when it is accompanied by drawings and/or charts.
How important are the arts when teaching science? They are so important some educators are advocating for a science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) model in place of the traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) model.
Help give your child a leg up in the world. Choose nursery schools that teach the arts and explore how art relates to science.