In today’s academic scenario, the creative arts have all but entirely disappeared from the Indian education system. There was a time when creative classes were compulsory for students, and were given their due importance by parents, teachers, and kids alike. However, the current atmosphere of mounting academic pressure and curriculum goals has pushed Arts and Crafts to the sidelines. The burdensome emphasis placed on academics and the growing neglect of extra-curricular activities is certainly not unheard of. However, unfortunately in most cases, the concerned parties are still unaware of the contribution of those very subjects to a child’s academic and personal growth.
Learning the arts and crafts doesn’t just foster the creative development of a child, but also assists in advancing and refining his or her core skills, which in fact goes towards boosting academic achievement as well. Having extra-curricular clubs in which young artists can pursue their hobby can engage and augment a child’s cognitive and critical thinking abilities immensely. Cognition refers to the brain’s conscious mental activities, and includes thinking, reasoning, understanding, learning, and remembering. As such, the development of these functions is vital for all activities undertaken by a child.
Imbibing a healthy interest in Arts and Crafts, early on, in a child, can give him or her several key advantages, like…
Improved Bilateral Coordination
Bilateral coordination is the ability to simultaneously utilise both sides of the brain, and is a good indicator of cognitive progress. Children who struggle with coordinating both sides of their bodies face difficulty in completing daily tasks like tying their shoes, conducting motor activities like stringing beads, and carrying out visual motor tasks such as writing. A critical skill to inculcate early on in a child, for example, dependent largely on bilateral coordination, is ‘Crossing the midline’, which is the ability to reach across the middle of the body with one’s arms and legs crossing over to the opposite side. This coordination ability is enhanced by creative activities since they simultaneously activate several different areas of the brain through absorbing tasks like using play-doh ‘tools’, and lacing yarn through holes, and various other craft activities such as splashing colors on canvas and moulding the clay with their tiny hands. This is known to boost the fine and gross motor skills of students.
All forms of art, including sketching or dancing, require and train the perseverance and focus of a child, making them absolutely essential in enhancing his or her cognitive development. Art and craft must be an integral part of a school’s ethos whereby a lot of topics and concepts are learnt through art forms. When teachers encourage children to put their creativity into practice they boost their capacity to focus and grasp the subject matter at hand.
Strengthening visual learning
For young kids, painting, sculpting, and sketching play an important role in helping engage and evolve their visual skills, while also improving their knowledge of spatial relations. When children draw items that are specific and correlated, like objects which are thick and thin, smooth and rough, far and near, and so on, they are able to easily understand the concepts of distance, size, comparison, and textural differences, in an elementary manner, which augments their fundamental visual analysis skills. As such, arts and crafts help educate students in interpretation and criticism, showing them how to make choices based on visual information, which pure academics offers limited scope in achieving. Visual processing and spatial relations are crucial in performing basic skills such as riding a bike or playing ball games, and an underdeveloped skill capacity may greatly hinder this functioning.
Advancing problem-solving skills
When we draw, we have to pay attention to various physical attributes of an object in order to depict it with accuracy. When a child draws a house or a tree, for instance, they employ their cognitive skills to determine, for instance, the relative size of the person standing next to it, or where the door should be. These entail problem-solving and decision-making skills which are being constantly applied and hence assimilated during these exercises involved in producing artistic projects.
Pursing Arts and Crafts has the inherent benefits of encouraging a child to exercise flexible thinking, de-stress, explore his or her individual creativity, and enhance learning through fun, the latter of which is the perfect indication of a healthy education system. This is why it is extremely important for parents to encourage children to take up arts and crafts, and provide positive reinforcements — displaying their artwork around the house or praising the child in front of guests and family members — to motivate them to practise it with increased vigour and enthusiasm. This, in turn, will help advance their academic standing and simultaneously promote their overall welfare.
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