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Learning Environment — The Art Studio, Elgin Child Development Center

The best art gallery ever is that of the refrigerator. This is where the great works of your young artist are hung. It may only appear as a squiggly line to you but in that line lays a whole world of imagination; a story just waiting to be told and heard. Have you ever looked at your child’s work and wondered why in the world does the classroom even take time to let your child color, paint, mold with clay, use papier-mâché or makers?

Art is just one more way your child can learn to express what they are thinking; another language. Socially and emotionally children can express their feelings. If they are feeling happy, for example, the colors they choose may be bright. Darker tones may be chosen if they are feeling sad or frightened. Through art children can show off their individuality and originality. It is a safe place to express because there are no wrong answers. Even if what they express does not match true life forms, they are figuring their world out and creating their stories.

The art center is a place children can work on their physical development through broad strokes of a brush or marker, or simply tearing paper for a collage. The art area also develops the cognitive area of the brain. When children express what they know through painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. they use thinking skills to plan, organize, decide on what materials, and what colors they need to symbolize their impressions and thoughts.

Last but not least, the art center helps to develop your child’s language skills. When they talk about what that squiggly line is, “that’s my dog, spot”, they are connecting their thoughts to verbal expression. As parents, siblings, or teacher, you can encourage word development by asking them about their design. Using open ended statements or questions will help your young artist to exercise his language skills. It is an excellent way to foster new words when you use the terms of the work they did. For example sculpt; sculpture, palette, and clamp are just a few terms that your child could learn.

The next time you look at your refrigerator art gallery, just remember all that your child learned through that experience.

One Hope United’s Elgin Child & Family Resource Center offers Infant, Toddler/Twos, Preschool, Kindergarten and Summer Camp programs.