Wednesday, October 5, 2011

MaryAnn Kohl: The Importance of Art in Early Childhood, Part 3

~Part One is here~   ~Part Two is here~

***Enter to win a copy of MaryAnn Kohl’s book, Scribble Art!
Rules for entering are at the end of this post.***

Here is a little collage I put together of just a few of the projects we’ve done that were taken from Scribble Art:

collage 1. Salty Watercolors (like magic!)

2. Painting with a variety of things, mixing colors, gluing things on (so much fun!)

3. Dipping colored chalk in white paint and drawing on black paper

4. Drawing with our homemade “scribble cookies” (shaped like Christmas trees)

5. Painting with melted crayons (one of our favorites!)

Whoever wins this book is in for such a treat!! :)


Art versus Crafts

Here is the third and final question I asked of MaryAnn:

3. Is it truly important to do "art", where a child simply enjoys the process, with no expectations placed on what the finished product will look like; instead of  making "crafts" where a finished product is the goal?  Don't crafts help develop a child's creative side and give them a final product that they can be proud of?

MARYANN:  I love art and I love crafts too, but they are very different. It is art where a child learns to trust his own thinking and finds out how art materials behave and learns to control them, all within his own power. It is art that holds the unknown and the excitement of discovery and exploration. Crafts are fun and teach skills like following directions and give a child an activity that has a product that may work around a theme like Fall Leaves or Dinosaurs, and all of that is good. Children are often proud of crafts they have created, though sometimes their final products fall short of the sample they were shown and they can feel disappointed too. With art, they are the only judge of a final product, but truly, it is the learning and the exploring that has the most value, that is, the process of experiencing art. The final product is like a road map of what occurred, not the reason for the exploration. So yes, do a craft, and yes, do art!  

MaryAnn wrote the following to me at the conclusion of our interview, and I think this may just be the most important message of all:

MARYANN: I'd like to explore what makes art special a little further: Children express themselves through art on a fundamental level. Sometimes their artwork is the manifestation of that expression, but more often, the physical process of creating is the expression. Picture the toddler who has a new baby sister busily pummeling his fists into Play-Doh; a six-year-old joyfully painting flowers with huge arm movements blending, reds and yellows; a ten year-old drawing a portrait of her grandmother who recently passed away. Creating art allows children to work through feelings and emotions, and referring to a finished piece of artwork helps a child talk about feelings in a new and meaningful way. Art also develops a child's creativity. Rather than being told what to do, answers and directions come from the child. Art is an experience that requires freethinking, experimentation, and analysis -- all part of creativity. And it is the creative person who develops his thinking process so that he can become an adult who can think, who is not afraid to try new things and new ways of solving problems and making the world a better place.

Thank you so much, MaryAnn, for taking the time to share your thoughts and knowledge with us.  I hope my readers have enjoyed this; I’m very grateful for the awareness you work so hard to bring to educators and parents regarding why art is so important.  Children seem to intuitively know this already, and now I can better understand why they love art so much!


Giveaway Rules

MaryAnn’s wonderful website is Bright Ring.  Please visit it and follow the link to her Free Art Activities (the link is located on her left sidebar).  To enter this giveaway, come back here and leave a comment letting me know which art project you think would appeal most to the children in your life. :)  While on her website, you can also join her mailing list and check out her blog!

This giveaway will run through Friday, October 14th.  I will pick a winner via and post the winner on Saturday the 15th.  Be sure to check back!  More good news – if you just can’t wait to get one of MaryAnn’s books, she has many of them available as e-books!

For more great information about MaryAnn, her work, and her thoughts about children and art, you might be interested in reading the excellent interviews she did with Jean over at The Artful Parent (here, here, and here).

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Good luck with the giveaway everyone, and have a beautiful day! :)

1 comment:

  1. I think "Blottos" from Scribble Art would be a big hit... Dropping paint, pressing, then the amazement at what has appeared. Such fun! It looks like something my 2 year old could join in on, and I know my 4 year old would go bonkers over it.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment; I love reading them! If you ask a question and don't receive a personal reply, check back here for the answer. Often I reply via comment to something that might be of interest to others.


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