Practising and enjoying visual art is an important part of the education process. haven magazine’s resident art expert, Mrs Red, tells us why.

We live in a world of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ and as an art business, I am in the ‘want’ category. Art is unfortunately seen as a luxury even though simple visual creative activities are often the backbone of a child’s educational development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics is seen as important in the early years, but what about when your child reaches school age, even heading into middle and senior school? Having taught both children and adults in the art room for the past five years, it is clearly evident that we never stop learning and, no matter your age, visual art is a fabulous educational tool.

I have put together my Top 5 reasons why children need art in their daily life – and this crosses over into us ‘big kids’ as well – we never stop learning!

1. Neat hand writing? A study in the United States has shown that children who practise cutting out shapes with scissors on a daily basis to improve their ability to learn how to write in a neat and readable fashion.

2. Got the next Newton or Franklin in da house? MaryAnn Kohl, an arts educator and author of numerous books about children’s art education, believes that when kids take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” says MaryAnn. So true!

3. Academic Achievers Club! Children who do art on a regular weekly basis are four times more likely to be recognised for academic achievement. Art strengthens problem-solving skills, increasing school success.

4. Do you doodle? Doodling, or mindless drawing, improves memory. A recent study has revealed doodling is playing an important part in preventing or slowing down Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Art is healing. I see this time and time again in the art room, regardless of age. It doesn’t matter your age, when you sit down and do anything creative it brings inner peace, helps you problem solve and gives confidence. I am always being told how calm and relaxed I come across and my answer is always the same, “Look at what I do!”. I cannot push this point enough. If you or your child is going through a rough time, even a colouring book and pencils will help the road to recovery.

Writing this article made me excited and frustrated all at once. It’s very easy for me to simply tell you to ‘make art every day’ but it isn’t always easy to put into practise. With all the wonderful colouring books around now, it is not hard to sit down and begin colouring. This can then lead to hand drawing one of the colouring pictures yourself and then before you know you are hitting the art shop to buy more supplies. Start simple and progress.

On a personal note, Mrs Red’s art room is taking a hiatus. However, Mrs Red is still teaching in schools, taking Wine & Untangle on the road and looking forward to putting more than five years of art lesson plans online!

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Mrs Red

Mrs Red  

Jane Whittred (aka Mrs. Red) has a Bachelor of Art under one arm, a PG Diploma of Education under the other, three children and a hubby in one hand and a mini farm in the Gold Coast’s hinterland in the other hand. Jane owns Mrs. Red’s art room in Miami and believes this business found her mixing two degrees together and using these skills to open an art room to teach both children and adults visual art. www.mrsredsartroom.com.au