Wednesday, March 18, 2009


by Jocelyn C. Kintanar, Ph.D.

The positive effects of art on children have been validated by several studies. In an article, Christine O’Kelly describes how their exposure to art lessons can improve chances of becoming successful adults. The author goes to the extent of saying that adults who had not taken art lessons “ have never really discovered their true selves and capabilities”.

She explains that during art lessons, children are allowed to express their own creativity and ideas, hardly concerned whether their work is correctly done or not. Unconstrained by fear of criticism and of committing mistakes, they pursue this creative opportunity freely. Making mistakes, after all, is vital to becoming successful! Adults, on the other hand, are constrained in this respect which according to O’Kelly are difficult to overcome.

Introducing art lessons during early childhood develops flexibility among children making them better prepared to deal with the unexpected. These help them develop self-confidence that likely lasts through adulthood.

The child by nature is a “creator, innovator, and explorer”, abilities that need to be developed. According to some educators, activities that do not provide children opportunities to express their ideas and thoughts should not be labeled as art and that “the development of the ability to think creatively is more important than any art product a child can produce”.

The traditional practice of providing coloring books with templates of pictures, forms and shapes, at times indicating the color to be filled in, hardly helps in fostering creativity. This way the child is inhibited from developing his “initiative, imagination and originality”.

A noted Hindu artist, Chinmay Mehta said, art has a “ a strong therapeutic effect on the mind. This view is shared by another Hindu artist, Anshu Pawan, who thinks of art as “a form of catharsis”. “Whatever can’t be expressed through words can be beautifully expressed through art”, he said.

Aware of the importance of art lessons on children’s development, Oneworld Montessori House has implemented painting lessons for children 4 years old and above. In consonance with the school’s community outreach program, painting classes are offered this summer for children and adults alike interested to learn how to paint using a variety of media. They will be exposed to different painting techniques used by renowned artists. Classes will start on April 13.

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