Sunday, August 19, 2012

Watercolour painting for children

Watercolour is the most accessible and easiest form of painting for children. Quick results and less prone to soiling cloths. All you need is a small bucket for water, some soft watercolour brushes (synthetic round/pointed tip), cartridge paper and the watercolour paint. You can buy watercolour paint in small tubes or the blocks/cakes of paint.

A quick and simple method I have used  to teach my toddler how to paint with watercolours is a 3 step process. Depending on their dexterity (are they left or right handed?) set up your materials accordingly, so in order from the right or left.This method is good for instruction, patience and the child getting the best result with least frustration. Teach them the process of:

Get the child to make finger prints with watercolour paint cakes
Toddlers -Draw some lines and get your child to follow the lines; teach them zig-zag, curves, spirls

Friday, August 17, 2012

Art improves behaviour management

Often as an Artist or Visual Arts Teacher you have to justify the value of the arts. Research to support the benefit of visual arts activity for children in particular is the effect it has on positive engagement in classrooms specifically improved behaviour in disengaged children. Not only is art making accessible to all students, all children find a sense of self actualisation in their ability to achieve results. This sense of improved self esteem leads to better socialisation, better behaviour and in turn increases retention.

It is common for those disruptive kids to respond better to creative activity as generally they perform lower in analyical subjects resulting in a failure complex thus become disruptive to mask their perceived inabilty to achieve results. These students tend to perform and respond well to visual arts and given the access to the subject in school, find purpose.

What has prompted this blog post is two articles I have recently read. One a news article, "Guards must be consulted over prision changes" by the Brisbane times, 17 August 2012, reporting 5 Queenland prisions may be decreasing the prisioners' workshop time (access to activities such as sewing, metal work and painting for instance) due to budget cuts. In protest, Prision Guards striked emphasising the benefits as I have outlined above and the ripple effect in decreased educational activity. With the descrease of activity time, prision inmates are likely to become disengaged (effectively bored) and are likely to exhibit bahaviour issues, dissocialisation and increased violence. 

Some comments by the public in response to the descrease in activity time have scoffed at the thought gaurds would protest this. This isn't about providing luxaries for inmates, it is about educating; providing not only trade skills but socialisation skills, not to mention the emotional benefit and positive impact this can have for rehabilitation. Why wouldnt anyone want better people living with us in society? As some of these inmates will be released into the community again. The goal is to have them not reoffend.

The other article was in Australian Artist magazine #338 (aug 2012) on the inspiration, motivation and purpose of art making as a result of reading the magazine and creating art. Comments by an inmate quoted the positive effects of art making as emphasised above.

So how does this relate to children learning art in school?  If children become disengaged with school and end up dropping out, they are less likely to successfully support themselves. If participation in visual arts (for some) has proven to successfully retain and reengage children then that is evidence in itself of the value of the arts.