This is a guest post by Colleen Miller.
From the living room to the board room and many points in between, today’s world is often complicated, requiring layers of thought in order to unravel the solution.
Or like a light bulb, the right idea for business success might just suddenly flicker on in one’s fertile mind, without much deliberation or trial and error.
Whichever the case, creativity in adulthood takes many shapes and forms, and parts of it are often rooted in art – specifically the time spent as children learning to explore, imagine and create through participation in art classes. A recent report by Americans for the Arts showed that art education improves critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
“For some kids that’s how they best express their creativity - through art - and as adults that development and its results in ideas and solutions is seen in many different ways,” says Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher with 15 years of full-time and substitute experience in both elementary and middle schools. “If kids don’t ever learn to try creative things, if they never take chances and risks creatively, it would definitely hinder them as adults. Art in particular helps them develop in the broader sense of every-day life.”
Miller lists various ways that art helps children develop creative skills they can apply as adults to real-world situations:
It lets them go outside the box.
A child allowed to express and experiment freely in creating art builds the inner wiring of innovation. This is important in a world of frequent change, with companies searching for new ways of doing things. An art background encourages pushing boundaries and exploring new frontiers for improving methods. “A student can finish with something they didn’t necessarily anticipate in the beginning; it goes a different direction,” Miller says. “There’s less structure, no right or wrong answer. Creating art builds confidence, especially for kids who don’t think they’re good students in the more traditional subjects.”
It develops decision-making.
The act of exploring and trying new ideas develops a child’s mind as a critical thinker and problem solver as they consider and make choices. These experiences in creating art carry over into other areas. “If you don’t practice it, you don’t develop the touch for it,” Miller says. “If you practice being creative and coming up with different ideas, brainstorming, trying it again, adjusting, articulating it, it helps you with about anything you do later on.”
It helps them see the big picture.
The visual learning that art provides children is more applicable than ever as they join the workforce. The explosion of smart phones and tablets has put those devices in the hands of kids, giving them an onslaught of visual information to sort through. Drawing or other forms of art like sculpting with clay or making pottery instill visual-spatial skills that help kids interpret and distinguish things.
“If you have kids who keep on creating, and allowing them to do art work where there aren’t many guidelines, then each work is individual, distinct,” Miller says. “Each child in their own way through art learns to think creatively, and that’s so important in the next stage of their life.”
About Colleen Miller
Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher and mother of two teenage sons, serves as a national spokeswoman for Magic Sketch which uses a liquid-crystal-display screen that children can doodle, draw, sketch and trace on just like pen on paper. Small children can also use the board to learn their letters and numbers. Miller worked as a full time sixth-grade teacher for nine years, and has been a substitute teacher for grades 2 through 8 for the last six years.