Integrating art projects into classroom themes.

October 17, 2019

Children learn in an endless number of ways.

At Crossroads Center for Children, teachers and therapists are skillful at using multiple modalities to give their students plentiful opportunities to learn and practice the skills and concepts they need. Integrating Art with other subjects works well with children of all ages, because kids love being creative, just as much as teachers do.

Art projects are known to allow children of all abilities to access complex topics and concepts.

Engaging in art provides students with a connection to subjects and ideas, whether new or familiar. Art encourages attending, problem solving and spatial understandings.

Projects are fun, simply by virtue of being opportunities for creative expression. They’re also experiences filled with chances to build social interaction and school readiness.

At Crossroads, students have a chance to do all of this and at the same time to practice fine motor skills.

For example, learning to use a glue stick requires learning to remove the sometimes sticky cap, twist the bottom just the right amount and direction, press it to paper with the appropriate amount of pressure, put the paper to the surface as desired, and return the cap with similar expertise.

Grasping small morsels of black construction paper, which have been cut out as apple seeds and placing them in the correct area of the apple shape, takes a bit of spatial attention and develops understanding of  size and space, too.

Picking up a paint brush, wetting it, dipping it into the tiny spot of desired color on the watercolor palette, and applying that same brush to a certain area on a paper, is a sequence of skills which sometimes need to be isolated for teaching, especially with young children.

 

It’s important that we appreciate the finer details of teaching art skills, as much as the art of using such projects to bring alive the awesome themes that have to do with other subjects, apples, pumpkins, water and all of the themes being taught.

We’re so thankful for the grants and donations that we’ve been given to help with social skills development, since art projects are one of the areas where teachers and therapists can target social skills with students. Some examples of goals that students might have are sharing materials, passing items to one another, attending to a speaker (the teacher), showing one’s project to peers in a group, or even sitting in a group for increasing durations of time. Considering that the overwhelming majority of our preschool students have never been in a school setting before, there are so many skills that their teachers will shape over the course of the school year.

If you love the art projects that the students make here, be sure to follow us on Facebook where we share frequently!


12.3.18 Science and Art Meet Again

Here are just a couple of recent examples of high interest art projects that taught science concepts, too.

Here is a finger paint and collage project that Room 7 did recently. As you can see, the children made snowmen – melted ones. They’ve been learning about snow, and their art wall is currently full of snow flakes, snow globes and snowmen including melted snowmen. Learning about the water cycle, weather activities and the melting of snow are science concepts that are challenging in the abstract, yet graspable when introduced through a highly interesting art activity such as this.


Another clever activity was done in Room 4. Using wax crayons, the children colored their penguins. They then sprayed water on them. As they conducted this crayon resist art technique and experiment, they learned about the oily feathers that penguins have that helps keep them safe from cold and wind.  This serves as a basis of understanding how different animals are suited to live in different habitats.

A third example is found in Room 6’s recent pumpkin painting activity. Painting pumpkins is cool enough, but Room 6 took it a step further, and used mashed pumpkin to paint their trays with. The object was to describe the way the pumpkin feels to the touch, smells to the nose, and looks to the eye. Children were encouraged to paint with their hands if tolerated and to use a brush if that was preferred. Learning about the senses is an important area of science.

We hope you enjoy seeing what our classrooms are doing and how. Your comments are most welcome – we love seeing what others are doing.

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