STEAM learning is the integrated approach which incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math into every day learning.
In a recent article in STEAM Magazine, NASA Scientist Dr. Carol Polanskey said that Art makes her a better Scientist. Dr. Polanskey is the Dawn Mission Science Operations Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Library. From portraying important information in graphic formats to a large-scale understanding of the universe, the Arts are of irreplaceable value no matter what field you are in!
Dr. Polanskey says that “I find that most scientists have some interest— deep interest—in either music or visual arts.”*
We are so glad that, in Early Education, we have the freedom to integrate Art into all other academic fields of study. Young children are especially captivated by images, colors, and hands-on art processes.
Researchers at Michigan State University have found that Art Experiences in the early years help children grow in many ways:
Fine motor skills. Grasping pencils, crayons, chalk and paintbrushes helps children develop their fine motor muscles. This development will help your child with writing, buttoning a coat and other tasks that require controlled movements.
Cognitive development. Art can help children learn and practice skills like patterning and cause and effect (i.e., “If I push very hard with a crayon the color is darker.”). They can also practice critical thinking skills by making a mental plan or picture of what they intend to create and following through on their plan.
Math skills. Children can learn, create and begin to understand concepts like size, shape, making comparisons, counting and spatial reasoning.
Language skills. As children describe and share their artwork, as well as their process, they develop language skills. You can encourage this development by actively listening and asking open-ended questions in return. It is also a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary words regarding their project (i.e., texture).
So, let them color and scribble and mold and create… Art matters!