Art Elements Blogs

Importance of Arts in Child Development

We all will fairly agree on the fact that education in India has slowly shifted towards the common core subjects of the arts like Music therapy, art therapy and fine arts for teaching math and other subjects in a way that is understood to a child for a lifetime instead of only rote learning. It is important for parents to not only nurture academics but also grow an eye for art in their children. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they are growing up.

Developmental Benefits of Art

Motor Skills: Several motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. This way parents and teachers can gauge if the child is developing its milestones at the right time.

Language Development: Every time we create something using the means of art, it provides us with an opportunity to learn various colours, shapes, actions, and words. Toddlers by the age of 1.5 to 2years can also be taught simple activities such as crumpling of the paper and babbling the words “ball.” These small things when inculcated the child reaps benefits which further helps to enhance their vocabulary.

Decision Making: Which colour to be used for what? What brush will work for a small image to be painted? All these experiences of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art helps in various aspects of ones life. It also helps a child strengthen their self-concept.

Visual Learning: Drawing, sculpting with clay and the threading of beads on a string, all work towards the development of visual-spatial skills which hold significant importance. In the age of Smart Technology, toddlers today operate smartphones and gadgets earlier than expected. The visual aspects of the technology help in their development. The cues that we get from pictures or three-dimensional objects from digital media, books and television help and enhance the development of the children if utilized in the right manner.

Resourcefulness: When children are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that shall be resourceful in their growing years.

Cultural Awareness: Every culture has its own artistic as well as symbolic meaning. Thus, exposing children to various cultures through art helps them understand different perspectives of different cultures. They are not bind by the staple definitions of culture but have the opportunity to express themselves and their understanding through art.

Improved Academic Performance: Art is included as one of the primary subjects in most schools as it has proven to help children improve their academic performance. Children get to explore their artistic side which may further to lead to perceiving education in a more accepted and positive manner.

Art as a Healing Modality

 

Art healing, also known as the healing arts, is a term that is applied to the use of art in emotional and physical healing. Art healing is often confused with Art Therapy, and although art healing and art therapy are very similar, art therapy tends to be a doctor/patent healing process, whereas art healing is an individual/non-therapist healing process. However, both use art to help the healing process.

Those of us who have art in our souls and have used art as a therapeutic healing tool throughout our lives understand its value at the deepest level. Although a relatively new concept in western society, only in the last 60 years have health professionals, therapists, and others in the medical profession have begun to acknowledge the therapeutic effects of art and music on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of people.

 Art healing is beneficial in several ways:

  • Visually, it deals with traumatic emotions wherein one can feel safer visually expressing them through art rather than dealing with them in words.
  • Help in expressing emotions clearly.
  • It Is a powerful therapeutic process that has meaning and comes directly from our own*feelings and imagination.
  • It Allows us to know ourselves better.
  • It Is easily available to everyone.
  • It Enhances our lives and reduces stress.

While artists in general tend to focus on the aesthetics of artwork, art therapy and art as a healing tool focus on feelings and thoughts. Art healing works in any medium such as drawing, water colors, paints, collage, and others.

 In Art Therapy, a therapist usually instructs the individual in making a piece of artwork that expresses their feelings, and then encourages them to discuss what the artwork means. Art therapy methods have been shown to help cancer patients, people with arthritis and Alzheimer’s, , and individuals suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The act of creating art enhances self-esteem, gives a sense of control, and relieves stress and tension by diverting the mind. Most importantly, it is an outlet for emotions.

Art healing is, in essence, self-help art therapy. Anyone can do art healing, and most people do art healing in their own homes, using whatever methods they prefer and create a type of artwork. Unlike Art Therapy, where the goal is to create art, and then analyze or talk about it with a therapist, art healing is a personal journey and needs no therapist and no analysis. In creating artwork, the healing process has already begun.

Each of our powerful senses of smell, sound, taste, touch and vision can transport us back to a simpler, happier time. These can be very effective tools when used in pain management. Most people, skilled or not from an art background, have experienced how art can transform their state of mind and how they feel in that moment. A painting might make you feel sad, one piece of music cheers you up and another makes you angry. A poem or a photograph may make you think about something from a different point of view. reading a good book might make you forget the ache you have been feeling in your back.

It seems quite clear that art can influence people in many ways, evoking feelings, distracting your attention as well as giving one new insight. These are all healing tools that might be used in conjunction with other medical modalities to either alleviate or help control chronic pain and depression.

Imagery – one of medicine’s oldest and most powerful tools used in healing rituals and ceremonies. Imagery of dreams and visions have been used for centuries. Modern medicine, with all the emphasis on new technologies and curing of diseases, seems to have forgotten the healing tools of the past. However, in the last couple of decades, there has been an increasing interest in a more holistic type of medicine including complementary forms of healing such as guided imagery, art healing and hypnotherapy.

Art can form a connection between the physiological changes in the body and the conscious level of information processing, and may, if interpreted correctly, give ample information regarding the somatic state of the patient. In addition, art making can provide an escape and relief from physical suffering, such as pain, as well as emotions like fear, loneliness and depression.

Music as therapy- Research has shown that music has a profound effect on your body and psyche. In fact, there’s a growing field of health care known as Music Therapy, which uses music to heal. Those who practice music therapy are finding a benefit in using music to help cancer patients, children with ADD, and others, lately  hospitals are beginning to use music and music therapy to help with pain management, as well as ward off depression, to promote movement, to calm patients, to ease muscle tension, and for many other benefits that music and music therapy can bring along with it. This is not surprising, as music affects the body and mind in many powerful ways. Following are some of effects of music, which help to explain the effectiveness of music therapy:

Brain Waves: Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state. Also, research has found that the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.

Breathing and Heart Rate: With alterations in brainwaves comes changes in other bodily functions. Those governed by the autonomic nervous system, such as breathing, and heart rate can also be altered by the changes music can bring. This can mean slower breathing, slower heart rate, and an activation of the relaxation response, among other things. Therefore, music and music therapy can help counter-act or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress, greatly promoting not only relaxation, but health.

State of Mind: Music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay. This can help prevent the stress response from wreaking havoc on the body, and can help keep creativity and optimism levels higher, bringing many other benefits.

Other benefits: Music has also been found to bring many other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure (which can also reduce the risk of stroke and other health problems over time), boost immunity, ease muscle tension, and more. With so many benefits and such profound physical effects, it’s no surprise that so many are seeing music as an important tool to help the body in staying (or becoming) healthy.