Put Art in Front

This September your child may go to school and find her art program cut or barely offered by a gym teacher who will tell anyone " I can't draw to save my life". Due to cutbacks -art is often first sacrificed and overlooked as an extra curricular. We have so much to choose from in the way of activity for our children tat it can be hard to remember to PUT ART IN FRONT.

Creative time in our busy lives nurtures a side of us we all need. It can help us cope with stress, builds our self esteem and enables us to articulate life's complexities into beautiful form. Studies have shown that children learn differently-children that learn visually soar while linear thinkers learn to express in newer ways and everyone benefits from thinking outside of the box. "Art making is in some ways similar to recess.It offers school children a cathartic experience that is physical, emotional and spiritual in nature while they are taking in other kinds of information", says Wendy Lauter, a Chicago based art therapist and art educator. It stretches their imagination and promotes problem solving.It encourages experimentation and teaches us how to problem-solve and gives us all meditative time that our souls so desperately crave.

In my home Art Studio I focus on the process not the outcome-which is a good approach to all things in life. We work through the project together using only artist grade materials and tools and students learn them all by name. Each week's project explores a different emphasis and medium. At the end they may present their work- discussing what tools they used, what kind of art it is and they may give their art a name. Each child has the opportunity to teach or help another if the opportunity arises. They inspire each other as well as me every week. My hope is that rather than believing that they might be an artist when they grow up- that they will realize that being an artist means doing art. So they are artists now and they can have that for the rest of their lives. It is a place to turn to both in joy or to help them in difficult times. Put art in front of your child.

Nancy Johnston

Nancy is a self employed single mom of two teenage daughters and founder of Art Studio for Children. See her posts on urbanmoms,  for a dose of hope and humour as she finds handling it all exhilarating, scary and downright breathtaking. You can find more Nancy at her personal blog, My Family is Not Broken.

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