Everyone is invited to Westminster’s Annual Art Show on Tuesday, April 4th from 6:30-7:30 P.M.
Developmental Benefits of Art
Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors. Many preschool programs emphasize the use of scissors because it develops the dexterity children will need for writing.
Language Development: For very young children, making art—or just talking about it—provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and actions. When toddlers are as young as a year old, parents can do simple activities such as crumpling up paper and calling it a “ball.” By elementary school, students can use descriptive words to discuss their own creations or to talk about what feelings are elicited when they see different styles of artwork.
Decision Making: According to a report by Americans for the Arts, art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life. “If they are exploring and thinking and experimenting and trying new ideas, then creativity has a chance to blossom,” says MaryAnn Kohl, an arts educator and author of numerous books about children’s art education.
Visual Learning: Drawing, sculpting with clay and threading beads on a string all develop visual-spatial skills, which are more important than ever. Even toddlers know how to operate a smart phone or tablet, which means that even before they can read, kids are taking in visual information. This information consists of cues that we get from pictures or three-dimensional objects from digital media, books and television.
Inventiveness: When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” says Kohl. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!”
Cultural Awareness: As we live in an increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may also present mixed messages. “If a child is playing with a toy that suggests a racist or sexist meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy—the color, shape, texture of the hair,” says Freedman. Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.
Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
Spring Enrichment Camp (New Format)
WNS will again be offering Spring Camp for all enrolled children. Spring Enrichment Camp is scheduled for June 5-9 and June 12-16. Each session runs for five mornings (9:00-11:30). A separate flyer and registration form with additional information will be sent home at the end of April. Enrollment is limited and children may be signed up for either week. If space permits, children may be enrolled for both weeks. Because of fire regulations, WNS is no longer able to decorate in the extravagant way it has in the past.
Learning About our Community
During the month of April, WNS classes will talk about their community. Field trips for our four-year-old classes to the Berkeley Heights Post Office, the Berkeley Heights Fire Department, and Kings grocery store are being scheduled for May. We are also scheduling a visit by the Berkeley Heights Police Dept. to the nursery school. Please check the classroom doors for the dates your child’s class will be taking their trips and to sign the permission slip.
Mother’s Day Brunches
Our annual Mother’s Day brunches will be held Tuesday, May 9th at 9:15 AM for the Tuesday/Thursday classes and Mrs. Losada’s 4/5 day 4’s class; and Friday, May 12th at 9:15 AM for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes. Catering, entertainment and gifts will be provided by your children. If Mom cannot attend, you are more than welcome to make arrangements for another special person to attend. We expect the “brunch” to last for 30-40 minutes.
Our annual Field Day for the 4’s and three day 3’s classes will take place on Wednesday morning, April 26th (rain date of May 10th). Our movement teacher, Mrs. Gonzalez, coordinates this event. In order for all of the activities to run smoothly, we need a number of parent volunteers. Check your calendars to see if you are available. Class mothers will be contacting parents in their classes to obtain volunteers.
“Children will act out to provoke their parents to responsible action” Alfred Adler, Child Psychologist