I want my child to be thoughtful, kind, creative and independent. What can I do to instill and nurture these values in my child? Does that sound like you? Every parent out there is always thinking about the best ways to nurture and raise their children so they can be successful individuals in their lives. One way to help nurture the values of empathy, patience, kindness, creativity, fearlessness and independence in children is through an art class. You might wonder how can a class that revolves around learning motor skills help with instilling life values in a child? I’m here to tell you that the right class can do that and much more for your children.
Kindness and Accepting Criticism
A class can teach students about kindness and accepting criticism. During an art class, not only can the teacher walk around and give constructive criticism to students on how to improve their work, but students can help each other out by giving peer feedback. When doing so, students learn how to be kind, but also be specific when giving criticism. So instead of saying I don't like your work or I think it’s bad, they can instead learn to be specific and say things like, I think your painting could have used contrasting colours to make it stand out more, maybe try that next time. The student giving the criticism learns how to be kind to his peers, but also how to be constructive and helpful. Meanwhile, the student receiving the criticism learns that we all make mistakes and to accept help and criticism from others so that s/he can grow into a better artist.
Peer criticism sessions don’t just teach empathy, but they also instill confidence in the students as they learn public speaking skills. When each student has to get up in front of the class and give their opinions on their fellow students’ work, they learn to overcome shyness, they develop confidence knowing that their opinion can’t be wrong as long as they can defend their point of view. Without fear that they’ll make a mistake that can be mocked by their peers, students learn how to speak in front of a group, a skill which they will use throughout their lives.
How to Fail
Another important lesson that children learn in art is how to fail. When a child is tasked with drawing with pencil, they can and will keep erasing their mistakes, seeking perfection in their artwork. While being able to erase a mistake is not a problem in itself, it teaches students to seek perfection, and it doesn’t allow them to fail and learn to work with mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life and the earlier a student can learn how to work with them and turn them into a success, the better off they’ll be in their lives and futures.
Something as simple as asking a child to draw with a marker instead of a pencil, will have the child learn to slow down, think about what they want to do first then proceed with the task at hand, when they make a mistake, knowing they can’t erase it, their creativity will play a big role in helping them work with said mistake. Learning to fail, learning to work with mistakes is also a great way to teach the students how to be fearless.
Once a student learns that it’s OK to make a mistake and that sometimes, the most creative or beautiful artworks come from mistakes, they will be more willing to take chances and become fearless in their work. They will let go, slowly of their desire to be perfect and instead seek to learn by failing and seeing what comes out of their failure and mistakes, how they can still be successful and creative. Once they fail and learn from their failure, they will develop a growth mindset
Patience in an important value that all students learn in an art class. We start the year with simple, easy projects to get students excited about art and to gauge their skill level. But as the year progresses, the lessons get more challenging to help the students develop their skills. With more challenging work, the students will need to slow down, take their time, going through multiple steps to finish an artwork.
The time and the steps it takes to finish an artwork teaches the students to be patient and that a job well done takes time and effort, just like everything else in life. The more challenging the artwork, the more time, effort and patience the student will have to exert, and the more satisfied, successful and confident they will feel when they see the final results. Another way they will learn is when they see the difference in their work from the beginning of the year to the end of the year and know that all their practice and work has paid off and their skills have grown and developed tremendously over time
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