The developmental benefits associated with children and young people’s engagement with art are vastly documented. Ranging from improved creativity and motor skills, to a greater sense of focus and enhanced academic performance, the arts can be fundamental to a child’s experience of both life and learning.
Art is also an effective mechanism to help children to process their feelings. A prime example of this followed the Grenfell Tower tragedy. A spontaneous discussion following questions asked by pupils at Caversham Nursery led to an impromptu art session where children were encouraged to create pictures of the tower fire. Staff believed it was necessary for the three and four-year olds to gather their thoughts using artwork in order to gain a better understanding. Quashing their questions around the event would not be helpful in the long-term, their negative emotions needed to be addressed openly and sensitively, promoting positive mental health. Click here to view some of the children’s work.
The National Gallery is currently in the midst of its Take One Picture project. Established in 1995, the scheme exists countrywide to promote a love of art among primary school pupils. One painting from the collection is chosen each year and primary school teachers and children are encouraged to respond creatively to the work. It is an extremely open-ended project in which children can pick certain figures in the painting, or even base a piece of their own around the composition – the children are given free reign over their creative response.
This year, Rubens’s Roman Triumph has been chosen as the focus piece due to its richness and vitality. Children can work in whatever medium they like, from complex approaches such as ceramics and shadow puppetry, to more accessible methods such as oil paints and pencil.
Exercising creativity is a key element within the Thrive Approach. Engagement with arts and crafts is highly encouraged within Thrive settings – take a look at some of the brilliant work produced within Thrive rooms across the UK on our Pinterest page. Explore our other boards for arts and crafts ideas to captivate all ages.