Creativity and Art Education
Interest in creativity begins to manifest in children in the second year of life, when their attention is attracted by pencils, paper, clay, pebbles, threads, and anything else they can use to make something new or change the appearance of something old. Often, this fascination results in some surprising new home décor before parents can thoroughly convince their offspring to keep their crayons and paints off the walls and on paper. While at this age, children don’t have the ability to create recognizable images, they enjoy the process of making colored spots and marks, already imbuing the images they create with meaning.
This period of artistic development is referred to as the “pre-imagery phase”, which lasts approximately from the age of 18 months to three and a half years. It is also sometimes called “pre-esthetic”; while children are not fulfilling an esthetic task as such, they will soon be making attempts to try to accurately reflect their surroundings if provided with support and encouragement. Children who are permitted freedom of artistic expression learn to approach life with spontaneity, openness, and curiosity, which will serve them well for years to come. They discover their own individuality and creativity. This does not necessarily mean that they will become artists, poets, or musicians, but they certainly will develop more of a tendency toward inventiveness and individuality in all their endeavors.
Children who are involved in music, dance, or drawing, never look at pictures, books, or music, as simple diversions; they know that someone has put hard work into every task and product, and that that work is worthy of respect. Kids whose artistic tastes have been fostered when they are young will always be able to appreciate true beauty.
At our school, we help parents develop their children into people with extraordinary habits of thought who are attuned to self-cultivation and self-improvement. It’s often said that kids are sponges: they absorb everything they perceive. And everything they learn at an early age manifests itself later, finding echoes in the knowledge and skills they display in adulthood. Therefore, the lessons we teach children should be as varied as possible, to enable them to try everything that catches their interest, to develop their ideas about the world, to expand their horizons, and to adjust their self-perception in relation to their environment on both gross and subtle levels.
After all, any contact with art – including, but not limited to, painting, music, and poetry – informs children’s feelings, fills their inner world, and makes them question, think, reason, and express their opinions. Creativity is a dialogue with oneself, with others, with the whole world, a form of communication that is essential for staving off the loneliness that so often afflicts us in this day and age.
This is why we always include creative subjects in our programs, making use of a wide variety of techniques and materials. Our older groups also attend a separate art education class to reinforce their love of and enthusiasm for all things creative.