why creativity is awesome
PUBLISHED IN ABOUT THAMES DITTON, JUNE 2021 - by Siobhan Mason
On the hierarchy of subjects valued by schools and society, art has always come way down the list. It’s often seen as a luxury subject, a nice thing to do at the end of the day if the all-important literacy, numeracy and science have been covered.
With a year of disrupted schooling and the pressure over-stretched teachers are now under to help children ‘catch-up’, art may fall further down the list - or off it altogether - at a time when children need it most.
Yet engaging in artistic activities can be a great release for children, with well-documented benefits for their mental health and well-being.
The Tracking Arts Learning and Engagement Survey (TALE) – a three-year project investigating arts education in high schools in England from 2016 to 2018 - found that arts and cultural learning taps into children’s imagination, creative instincts and self-worth in ways that other lessons do not.
Whether they are threading a needle, gliding a paint brush across a page or cutting out a pattern, children are often ‘in the zone’ when engaging in an artistic project. By being fully absorbed in a task, they are able to achieve that sense of ‘flow’ – that coveted mental state that enables them to switch off distracting thoughts and any negative internal dialogue.
A child’s confidence can plummet if their inner judgemental voice gets louder, which it can do as they age. If a child is inclined to think ‘I can’t do it,’ when faced with a blank piece of paper, art lessons give them regular opportunities to prove themselves wrong and see that, with a little patience and perseverance, they actually can.
Art gives young people the chance to use all their senses, to express themselves and offers space for their imagination to flourish.
Visualising a project, experimenting with a variety of tools and techniques then seeing it through to completion can give children a sense of achievement, help them develop a confidence in their ideas as well as help them connect with and process the world around them. If ever there was a time when children needed to process the world around them, it’s now.
Even if our children aren’t budding Picassos or seeking a career in design, architecture or anything with an obvious art component, they will still benefit from all art has to offer.
Regular art classes get children in the habit of seeing things from different perspectives, encourage them to experiment and generally gets them in the habit of ‘giving things a go.’ They learn to relish the process, not just the result.
Over time, this fosters an open, creative and confident mind - an attribute beneficial in most areas of life and one valued highly by employers across all industries.
We’re able to come up with creative and unusual solutions to problems when we combine disparate and unrelated ideas from a wide range of different disciplines. We limit our children if we narrow this range too early.
The wider variety of subjects we encourage our children to pursue, the greater the number of ways they will have to interpret the world, and the more skills they will have to draw on, whatever they choose to do in life.
Career prospects and mental health benefits aside, children return to art time and time again mostly because it’s fun.
The Magpie studio is a colourful place full or art, craft and sewing equipment tucked away in Thames Ditton. In our light and bright space, we run creative workshops for kids, weekend courses for teens as well as hosting children’s creative parties. Our school communities also benefit from our after-school art and sewing clubs.