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The role of the visual arts in early childhood education has long been recognised and valued as an essential component of the curriculum. Eckhoff, Angela, 2011 The arts consist of variation of appreciation. The different forms of art such as dancing, drawing and painting, performance art, sculpturing and many more. The school curriculum has to embrace arts education. Art appreciation can be inculcate to children at young age. Knowing and understanding of the arts help children to express themselves in different creative art forms in which they are comfortable in.
Art nurtures the child to be inventiveness as it engages the child in a process that helps in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, self-motivation and problem-solving. Children's self-esteem will improve as there is no right or wrong in self-creative creation. In this way, children are able to complete task with self-discipline. They practise how to complete a piece of work with patience. As the task assigned in an art lesson is usually engaging, whether it is to complete a drawing or learn a dance, the children would unknowingly establish a positive attitude towards completion of the task. The young learners also get the opportunity to practise social skills through co-operative learning. For instance, the children could partner one another and dance to the music. They could even perform a simple skit together during a speech and drama lesson. As the child discovers the love in arts, they would also become self-motivated and freely express themselves in the different forms of arts.
In co-operative learning, it is inevitable that each child will have different opinions and thoughts. In order to complete the task allocated, they would have to learn how to respect one another's view. This is part of the process of problem-solving while accomplishing a group assignment together. Each child will have to communicate in a variety ways to express their thoughts and produce the art piece they want it to be or the way they want to express themselves in a play. The young learners will pick up useful life skills to solve problems independently.
The belief that art education should encourage the child's creativity, imagination, and expression did not mean that all previous pedagogies were replaced. (Jolley, 2010) Imagination helps children with expression in dancing and also helped in language acquisition to find the correct vocabulary to describe their expression. A child's creativity should not be obstructed or corrected by the adults or educators.
2 forms of art
In terms of aesthetic and creative education, dance has much to share with drama, music and the visual arts. (Davies, 2003) A dance is an activity that needs time to practise and gain experience. A dance performance involves choreographing of movements with a music or composing of a musical piece for a dance.
Performing can be taken to mean 'to do', 'to show', 'to dance', creating as 'making', 'trying out', or 'composing', while appreciation is the outcome of 'watching', 'viewing', 'talking about' and ' drawing about' dance. (Davis, 2003) The activity could be an expressive dance in a drama played by the students. This class activity could elicit responses from children by initiating a discussion how the characters should dance, the kind of facial expressions, choosing the right piece of music to express the mood of the scene and the movements to go along with the music. Children would have trials and errors along the way in the making and appreciating in every part of the dance drama they have created. In terms of dancing consist of being a creator or maker, a viewer or spectator or as a doer or performer. (Davies, 2003) Hence, it is a great platform for children to practise problem-solving skills. The children would be fascinated when they are given a role to play. They would take pride in their roles and responsibilities so it would cultivate self-motivation. Self-esteem could be developed in the process of demonstrating the required skills. There are many opportunities for praises and constructive feedback to individuals to support them in self-discovery.
Certain movement ideas frequently used by in informal situations seem to belong together and can be utilised in dance. (Davis 2003) Educators on their part, they can facilitate the students by guiding exploring different ideas of movement such as running and leaping, turning and twisting, moving and stopping suddenly. Children will be able to choose the right movement they would want to include into their dance. Educators may also guide children choosing the instrument they would like to use for the movement using different sounds. For example, the sound of the fast ringing bells can be the movement of running. Dancing is tapping on kinaesthetic intelligence where the child could learn through body movements. Through practice and hard work, the children could perform certain body movements confidently. They would improve in self-esteem as they successfully perform the desired body movements.
Another form of art is drawing. Drawing from observation still represents a key component of statutory art education for children aged 5 to 14 years of age. (Jolley 2010 ) Drawing involves imagination and creativity and expression. Drawing helps children to express their thoughts with different kinds of lines and shapes. It encourages the young minds to be independent problem solvers as they have to decide on the kind of drawings they want to produce.
Observation also plays an important part in drawing. For example, children may observe a stalk of flower or the movements of the grass when the wind blows and draw the expression of what they have observed using different lines. For example, curvy lines, straight lines and zig-zag lines. Once children are allowed to make representational drawings, rather than mere line and shape, they are often directed towards forms of subject matter such as cubes, cones, prisms, and so on, whether copies from pictures of three-dimensional models. (Jolley,2010) Children may also move to a higher level to explore drawing representational drawings with their imagination. Drawings are one of the best ways to document the imaginations of the learners. It allows the opportunity for educators to encourage the children through guidance and improve self-motivation and self-esteem.
Educators may guide children by introducing the drawing of different lines such as horizontal line, vertical line, wavy line and spiral line. Students will then apply what they have learnt in their drawings. Students will also need to be given opportunities to observe the environment around them , space for creativity and imagination. Children are then taught to draw more controlled lines. (Jolley, 2010) In this case, children are expect to have the discipline to practise the skills of drawing straight lines.
5. arts education in the curriculum planning.
According to the Ministry Of Education, Singapore, Kindergarten Curriculum Guide (KCG), aesthetics and creative expression is being part of integrated learning in the holistic development of the child. In the school planning, it has to include the children's experiences in visual arts, music and movement allow children to be expressive, creative and imaginative. (Kindergarten Curriculum Guide, 2008) Therefore, it is essential to plan the school's curriculum according to the framework and arts will not be left out.
In the school's curriculum, children are also taught to learn appreciation of visual arts and musical instruments. Children will be given chance to discuss about their own art works such as describing the lines , colours and shapes used. (Kindergarten Curriculum Guide) Children will also be given opportunity to appreciate, learn and explore the different sounds made by the instruments. It is the ministry effort to promote holistic education and the emphasis of the importance of arts education in pre-school curriculum.
Teachers are the drivers for success implementation of a well-developed school-based curriculum. It is only beneficial if schools encourage teachers to attain subject mastery through professional development.
In a nutshell, we must value the importance of arts education as it develops the young learners in a fun and engaging manner. It helps to look into the child's development in the different areas such as self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, self-motivation and problem-solving.