Sunday, 14 August 2011

Tips for Teaching Preschool Art

Teaching preschool art and crafts should be more about the hands-on experience and creativity than about a perfect project. Here are some tips that may help.

Be aware of the abilities of the children you are working with. It is good to offer a challenge but don't expect something that is beyond their capabilities.

More detailed projects are doable for preschoolers but you will need to do more prep work for the project. Whenever possible, print pattern pieces onto colored paper. Pre-cut project pieces that are detailed, small pieces or multi piece projects. Pre-trace large pieces for preschoolers to cut out; cutting promotes small motor skill development and hand-eye coordination.

Using glue dots is beneficial for multi piece projects. Cut papered dots apart; remove paper from one side and place on back of piece to be glued. Leave paper cover on piece until your artist is ready to attach the piece.

Be prepared. Have all needed consumable materials, tools, clean up materials, and work space ready to go.

If doing a group project be sure there are enough materials so that children's creativity isn't put on hold while waiting for tools or materials.

Have a sample project for them to see. Many of us our visual and need to see for clearer understanding.

Provide clear and simple step by step instruction. Don't instruct faster than your preschooler can work. Repeating may be necessary. Providing choices of different colors (paint, paper) and embellishments, like sequins and buttons, helps each child express their own creativity.

Open-ended projects allow preschoolers more opportunity for expression of imagination, creativity and making their own choices. Preschoolers learn best by doing. It is important to provide an array of different materials. Offer opportunities to create with materials that appeal to the senses.

Offer a variety of mediums: in addition to crayons offer; washable markers, colored pencils, colored chalk, water paint and tempera paints. Provide opportunities to explore different textures. Incorporate items like: wax paper, paper towels, ribbons, yarn, dried pasta, rice, beans, and nature items: pebbles, sticks, nuts and seeds into projects. Don't forget their sense of smell. Use scented markers and play dough.

Have a scrap box. Save useable scraps from previous projects: different textured and colored papers, yarn, ribbon, and craft foam. These make great materials for open-ended art.

Shape box art provides opportunity to explore shapes as the foundation of drawing. Many preschoolers don't believe they can draw. Being able to create pictures by gluing shapes together helps them to see that the foundation of making pictures is just a matter of putting shapes together. A house is just a square with a triangle roof, rectangle door, and square windows.

Encourage your young artist to care for art materials. Demonstrate proper techniques for using and cleaning tools. Return materials to their proper place when finished. Allowing children to help clean the work space fosters responsibility and organizational skills.

Provide time for a show-n-tell of their creative projects. This allows them a chance to verbally express their imagination. It also aids with confidence in building communication skills, as there are no wrong answers.

Displaying a children's work instills a sense of accomplishment in them. It shows them that you consider what they do, as important; fostering their sense of value.

It makes the fridge look good too; even makes great office art, if nicely framed!

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