I have always believed in the importance of Arts education, so much so that I did my graduate degree in Fine Arts Education to round off my teaching credentials. There’s another reason that I chose Fine Arts as my focus, though! After already having taught in elementary classrooms for a couple of years, I was wildly fascinated by how many times I heard young kids – as young as 7 years old – say “I’m bad at art” or even more definitively, “I SUCK at art”. Part of me was surprised by these constant statements, but the 10 year old ME understood exactly how my students were feeling.
Art can be daunting. Art can feel ‘hard’. Art class can literally cause anxiety.
WHY? HOW? Art is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, and yet so many kids “HATE” art.
I think the thing with art is that it is often viewed as a very tangible and visible judgement of ones ‘abilities’. Kids feel like they can be judged at one quick glance of their creation… They feel like there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways of creating art… Unfortunately, it is often engrained in us at a very early age that art is something you are either GREAT at, or terrible at. Sigh.
All of those emotions can feel very real if kids don’t have good experiences with art from the get-go. Kids need a safe place to experiment with art without expectations of specific outcomes.
When we teach children how to enjoy the process of creating art instead of focusing on the end results, they learn to explore their creativity. They learn to love making art.
Portia, age 6, LOVES all-things visual art. I am over-the-moon happy that she has been encouraged by different teachers at daycare and at school to take risks in art. Portia, the daughter of a mother who grew up dreading art class and who eventually leapt head-first into a Fine Arts graduate program at age 28 to shake free of those fears. (Don’t get me wrong, the entire 2 year program was very hard for me. I was out of my comfort zone the entire time. I refer to that time as professional accreditation but even more so PERSONAL growth!)
When Portia started begging me to take art classes, I looked into it right away. I don’t ever want that willingness to create and express herself to go away. I want to help foster her love of art.
I remembered going to a blogger event that was a 4Cats splatter paint party. It was a bunch of parents (there for work) and our kids (there for play) and we all ended up playing and having fun. I Googled 4Cats and found one near us and enrolled Portia.
She LOVED her art class at 4Cats West Vancouver. She would literally start skipping as we got closer to the studio. She created and explored and is PROUD of her work. I hope she never stops feeling that excitement and pride for her creations in life. I love the confidence and sense of accomplishment she feels when she is creating!
We also had a very special treat in the class that Portia took because her art teacher was MY student when I was doing my practicum in a grade 4 classroom 11 years ago! I couldn’t believe it! It was so cool that she got to teach my daughter. It was such a ‘life coming full-circle’ moment, and she was so wonderful with the kids!
We will definitely be signing up for more classes at 4Cats in West Van. They have some great ones that are open for registration right now!