Mozart. Beethoven. Chopin.
Rembrandt. Picasso. Monet.
We all know it when we see or hear it.
We all innately know that creating artistic beauty and complexity that leaves us marveling for centuries requires extraordinary intelligence. No one can craft a masterpiece without it.
It only stands to reason then, that art, like any other form of intelligence, must be accessed, practiced and honed in order to advance it. And as neuroscience research continually affirms, exercising one area of intelligence has a positive effect on another.
While art might appear like a mere feather on the educational scale, think about all that's involved in your child's simple activity of finger-painting, colouring or drawing a picture: motor skills, hand-eye coordination, colour recognition and blending, emotional expression, spatial relations. These are obvious benefits. But there are surprising benefits which show up later in life.
Researchers from two Pakistani universities were concerned about the erosion of elementary art education in the Pakistani school system and its detrimental effects not only on the individual student, but on the country as a whole. In a recent study published in the FWU Journal of Social Sciences, Chishti & Jehangir examined "Positive Effects of Elementary Visual Art on Problem Solving Ability in Later Years of Life". The coed study of 150 college students concluded that students who had been provided visual art training in their elementary years of education had greater problem-solving skills as adults than those who had not. Moreover, participants whose elementary art instruction favoured student learning and unlocking one's unique creativity acquired even greater problem-solving gains than those who experienced a more rigid, teacher-focussed approach.1
Suddenly art isn't merely child's play; creativity is much more than fun. Exposing your child to art in the early years may well be the key to his or her solving life's challenges down the road. Perhaps even on the world stage.
The great thing is you don't have to be a master to reap the benefits. It simply requires participation. Who knows where a little of that will lead?
© Mary Barton, 2017
1 Chishti, R., & Jehangir, F. (2014). Positive Effects of Elementary Visual Art on Problem Solving Ability in Later Years of Life. FWU Journal of Social Sciences, Summer 2014, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 83-88