I love teaching art to children. I love watching their amazed faces when we break down a subject matter into easy steps they can follow to create a beautiful artwork, one that they previously thought was too difficult. It’s empowering to them and builds their confidence. That’s why we chose to teach children by teaching them the elements of art. When the children learn about the purpose behind what they’re creating, their work as well as their confidence, sense of individuality, creativity and independence will grow along with their skills.
We start by teaching children about lines and their use in an artwork. For younger children, line sets the foundation for more complicated artworks in the future, while for older children line can be used to express emotions, movement or used for more difficult techniques in art making. From line, children learn about using shapes and colour in their artwork. It’s always gratifying to watch children learn how simple lines can be used to create shapes of objects that are familiar to them. Like how a triangle can be a sail on a boat or how a house is made up of squares and triangles. Learning about colours only makes the process of art making that much more fun to the children.
When learning about colours, children learn how to use contrast to make their artwork more beautiful for instance or how they can combine two colours together in their artwork to make it stand out for emphasis. Learning to think ahead about their composition is a skill that children use not only in their artwork, but in their life and what better way to learn it than through the fun process of art making. As the children’s skills grow, and they progress through the curriculum, they learn how to make objects appear as though they’re moving, then how to use balance in their artwork; all skills that artists use.
After students learn about form and making objects appear three dimensional in their artwork, they can start to learn about space and making their artworks appear to have depth. Finally, the children learn about proportion and adding it all together to create unity and variety in their artworks.
While it may seem that some of these concepts might be too difficult or advanced for young children to understand, by simplifying the concepts through fun, engaging lessons, children as young as five years old can understand and apply them. When teaching art to children, it’s very important to keep the lessons age appropriate, fun, engaging and diverse so the children don’t get bored, but to also expose them to a wide variety of art making techniques and materials. Breaking down the lessons into simple steps through a constructed curriculum ensures each child will succeed in the art room and isn’t this our main job as educators?