Art is considered to be a fundamental need, a need to express our innermost emotions where words and articulation may fail us. It is something that comes naturally to most children since they are considered to be more in touch with themselves. There is something very unpretentious and pure in children pursuing artistic activities. The mind gets access to its subconscious state when engaged in artistic activity and beautiful things are produced as a result. There is a deep association with children and art, one can see it in the pencil boxes they carry or the way they decorate their files.
In physiological terms, it is understood that there are two hemispheres of the brain – right and left. While the left hemisphere deals with more conventional forms of learning such as math, science and other logical studies, it is the right hemisphere that is linked with the more creative aspects such as arts. Conventionally, our education system trains the left hemisphere to a greater degree than the right. Through research it is found that the more gifted children, when applying themselves in their fields of excellence show increased electrical activity in both hemispheres of the brain. This means that in order to tap the full potential of the mind, children should have both hemispheres of the brain adequately developed, making art education just as important as math or science for children.
Apart from this, children develop motor co-ordination while practicing art and craft activities such as drawing, colouring, cutting patterns and more. Most art and craft activities demand waiting – for example, paint to dry, glue to hold, attaching shapes piece by piece to a model and all this teaches children to have patience and self control. In a study conducted by Americans for Arts, it was found that children who practice art regularly (up to 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for one year) had 4 times more probability of being recognized for intellectual achievement, taking part in a science fair or being awarded for writing or composing poetry than children who did not.
In recent times, child care centres in Singapore have taken notice of the importance of art education for children, and most of these centres do offer some form of activities for those enrolled in them. There is also an awareness on the part of the parents who want child care centres in Singapore to include art and craft education for their children.