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ART… it’s a whole-brainer.
It’s been a few months since online schooling for kids became a part of our everyday lives. True, it did seem out-of-the-ordinary, even challenging, at first but we’ve sort of gotten accustomed to the new pattern now, for the sake of our kids. There’s one thing though which I’ve come to notice since the advent of e-learning in our lives.
Children are required to attend classes (some are even taking live sessions) every single day in the week for at least 4 hours (perhaps even more). The first half of the day goes in attending online school and the remaining is spent in completing homework, assignments, and projects assigned for the day. Where do extra-curricular activities like fine arts fit into this new schedule?
When kids would go to school, there would be dedicated hours for sports and outdoor play, music, art/craft, and dance. Of course, COVID-19 has put restrictions on outdoor play and sport activities for children. And the overload of online schooling schedules that require classwork and homework to be done all at home hardly leaves the child any time to be their natural self - creative and imaginative.
This reminds me of a famous quote by Picasso:
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Are we turning these imaginative little minds into information-processing machines just as yet? Perhaps it’s time to make a conscious effort at rekindling the innocent minds and allowing them some time to do what they’re best at - Imagine. Create. Laugh. Enjoy.
Academics Is Important But So Is Fine Arts
I speak from personal experience, and also from the experience of some others around, when I say that kids in today’s scenario of remote learning are overloaded. Overloaded with collecting, processing, and returning information. Just like a computer! They attend classes and gather information from their teachers. They then spend the remaining day processing that matter and returning it to the teachers in the form of homework and assignments.
I know that’s the best that could be done in the current COVID situation. Perhaps we parents can make a revised study schedule for our kids which incorporates other fun and creative activities too - drawing, painting, craft, music, dance, whatever the child is inclined towards. It’s not very difficult; if anything, it’d actually help release the load on the child and even complement their academic performance.
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How Fine Arts Helps Children
Though kids are born creative and imaginative, this skill needs to be polished and maintained, sometimes even restored, as they grow older. As they advance into higher classes and start feeling “pressured” under the huge pile of studies, tests and examinations, there arises a dire need to help them come back to their natural creative self.
This can be done by including some time in the day for activities they most enjoy - singing/learning any form of music they’re interested in, learning some form of dance, or drawing/painting and creating their own world of imagination. Just an hour or so of their own “me time” can actually help bring a world of difference to the child’s personality, which you can notice in just a few days! Of course, it’d also help kids stay away from the screen (TV/mobile/laptop) which they so look forward to whenever they find a break.
My child used to attend professional classes for dance before Corona put a halt to it. Now, as the teacher resumed online classes for dance recently, my kid’s joy knew no bounds. In fact, the whole day I see my child practicing steps - at the dining table, in the shower, and even while doing homework! So this is what fine arts can turn the child into - a happier being who finds immense fun in just being themselves and even with themselves.
Here are at least 4 reasons why we should definitely include fine arts as part of our kid’s everyday study schedule.
It’s time to rekindle innocent minds and allow them some time to do what they’re best at - Imagine. Create. Laugh. Enjoy.
4 Ways Fine Arts Can Help Kids
1. Music can help improve reading and math
Remember we learned at school that the brain has two parts - left and right? The left side controls all the hard skills like speech, comprehension, math, writing, etc., while the right part is responsible for all the creative stuff - art, music and other soft skills.
Scientists strongly recommend nurturing both sides of the brain equally from a very tender age to ensure achievement of a complete, rounded personality of the child as they grow older. Inculcating interest in the child towards music at an age as small as 3 years can actually go a long way in helping the overall development of their brain power.
Research suggests that music has the potential to trigger the left side of the brain, which in turn helps improve academic performance of the child. Interestingly, research has also proven that exposing children to music at an early age can help improve their memory!
Besides, music also helps small kids pick up sounds of words and their meanings much faster. This helps improve their linguistic abilities, making them better at speech and even reading. Also, music works as an excellent stress-buster at any age, we all know that. So imagine how a few minutes of learning music or singing would help ease the academic load off the child and stimulate their overall development?
2. Art triggers the desire to excel
When children spend time drawing, painting, in craft or any other such activity, they are driven to a desire to surpass their own expectations and excel beyond known abilities. No wonder art can literally work magic on little minds!
This is because as children learn to draw strokes perfectly, they become more careful and aware about each alphabet they write on their notebooks, spending time erasing and rewriting every letter until it comes out neat and perfect to their liking!
Professional training in art/drawing/craft can therefore help improve kids’ handwriting, besides improving self-confidence, fostering imagination, and boosting creativity.
3. Dance helps development of motor skills
When kids learn to master the control and movement of their arms, legs, and fingers in dancing, it inevitably helps improve gross and fine motor skills in children. For instance, classical dance training can help children get better at hand-eye coordination; they achieve better grasp at holding and moving things and even learn to perform lots of tasks independently.
Besides, engaging the child in professional art, music, or dance classes can actually help foster social skills in them. Learning in a group makes the child feel more comfortable with his peers who share the same interest as him; he learns to interact with them better, thereby increasing his self-confidence.
4. Fine arts training promotes discipline
When children get exposed to training in any form of fine arts, be it music, dance, drawing or painting, they also learn a very important life skill - self-discipline.
This is because perfecting any art needs regular practice. Once the child starts developing interest in the hobby they pick up, encourage them to spend a few minutes or maybe an hour at least every day to practice that art. This would help instill a form of discipline in the child which would require them to keep aside a certain time each day from their study schedule for fine arts.
I don’t deny the importance of teaching children the value of how to count or read. But, it’s equally important to allow these young minds to explore the beauty of what lies outside of the book world - the mellow tunes of music, the rhythms of dance moves, and the bright colors on a palette that can fill their world with imagination.
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