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Bringing Children to Art

While there can be no denying that art is important, it can be hard to know how to go about introducing it to our children.

I love the Charlotte Mason approach:

  1. Spend weeks with a single artist with one of that artists' works for each week.

  2. Watch videos and read books about the artist.

  3. Once a week introduce one of the artworks. Let the children spend the week learning the name of the artwork and studying the details. At the end of the week the teacher hides the artwork and the children narrate what they remember from it.

  4. Replicate one of the works of art at the end.

  5. Visit a real or virtual museum to see the artists works.

This approach allows the children to take ownership of their art study and come to their own conclusions without being fed an interpretation.

My family doesn’t always remember to study the artwork every day, so we spend a few minutes each week looking closely and then take turns telling each other 5 things we each notice about the artwork. I provide coloring pages for each artist and blank paper with art supplies to keep small hands busy during reading and videos. We also do at least one art project in the same medium as the artist over the weeks of study and compare the artist to other artists. All of this can be done in just 15-30 minutes a week, though sometimes they choose to work on their artwork for an hour at a time.

The kids have recently enjoyed making real life recreations of famous artwork. Click on the picture to see the original.

I believe it is important to give children as much freedom with art as possible. Teach them how to take care of their materials and let them create however they wish. The older they get, the more technique they can be taught, but freedom to start will help them love it. Teach them how to look closely at artwork, but let them make up their own meanings for things. Interpretation is always subjective and they will connect more if the ideas are their own. Have fun, give specific praise so they know you are really looking, and expose them to opportunities for exploration.

Next week will feature a wonderful contemporary embroidery artist.

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