Get Smart with Art - VSA Massachusetts

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GET SMART
WITH ART
How the Arts Develop the Brain
and Contribute to Learning
for ALL Young Children
Sandy Putnam-Franklin & Su Theriault
Institute for Community Inclusion
University of Massachusetts, Boston
How Art Makes You Smart
What is arts education?
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Movement and Dance
Music
Theatre Arts
Visual Arts
Research Reinvisioned for the 21st
Century
Early Arts Education
• Exploration
• Experimentation
• Engagement of the senses
• Discussion
Guiding Principles for
Arts Education
•The goal of arts education for young
children is to develop and sustain their
natural curiosity, expressiveness, and
creativity.
•Arts education begins with a foundation
that emphasizes exploration,
experimentation, engagement of the
senses, and discussion as paths to
understanding.
Massachusetts Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences (2003)
Best Practices for Arts Experiences
with Young Children
• Provide developmentally
appropriate materials, equipment,
activities.
• Provide opportunities to explore
a variety of materials, media,
tools.
• Extend children’s learning with
verbal stimulation
Universal Design is the design of products and
environments to be usable by all people, to the
greatest extent possible, without the need for
adaptation or specialized design.
- Ron Mace, Architect
Universal Design considers the needs of the
broadest possible range of users.
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Benefits of Universal Design
Increases access for all
Encourages students to participate and try new ideas
Increases retention of all students
Respects individual learning styles
Accommodations
• Support one student
• Require extra planning time
• Highlight differences
Either Accommodations or UD
Both Accommodations and UD
+
What does Universal Design for Learning
mean in early childhood?
Creating environments, curriculum, and assessment
strategies that accommodate the widest variety of
young children’s learning styles and needs. It also
involves including families in the process.
Key Elements of Universal Design
in Early Childhood Education
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Environment
Curriculum & Instruction
Assessment
Family involvement
The Arts Contribute to the
Development of the Whole Child
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Brain development
Gross motor development
Fine motor development
Visual memory development
Social-emotional development
Cognitive development
Brain Development
Neural Plasticity
• The brain’s greatest capacity
for change occurs during the
early years
Integration
• There needs to be good
communication (integration)
between both sides of the brain
Neural Plasticity
Use It or Lose It
The human
brain at birth
6 Years Old
14 Years Old
Multiple Means of Engagement:
Practice and Repetition
Integration of the Left/Right
Hemispheres of the Brain
http://www.brain-based-learning.com
Sensory Perceptual Development
A process in which the child develops the skill
and ability to take in, interpret, and respond to
information from the environment.
Sensory Experiences
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Finger painting
Handling textures
Finger plays
Coloring
Play dough, clay
Paper activities
Manipulative activities
Physical activities have cognitive
value.
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Physical education and recess
Gross motor activities
Sensory motor experiences
Combine movement and music
Movement and dance affect body
and brain development.
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Position in space
Directionality
Strength
Body control/coordination
Balance
Flexibility
Functional movement patterns
Personal space
Expression
Provide variety in movement.
Locomotor
Elements of
movement:
rolling, crawling, creeping,
walking, running, jumping,
hopping, galloping, sliding,
climbing
sequences
expression
props
Non-locomotor
bending, twisting, turning,
stretching, shaking, curling,
swinging, rocking, swaying,
reaching
Move
met
and
Danc
e
Response to
rhythms
classical
jazz
swing
disco
tribal
Ethnic
Contrasts of
movement:
hard/soft
strong/light
fast/slow
stiff/floppy
Windows of Opportunity
for Motor Development
•Basic gross-motor skills: prenatal to age 5
•Fine motor skills: birth to age 9
Vestibular Stimulation
Move in, move up, move all around
Keep the brain and body sound
The more you move
The more you’ll prove
That spinning and turning
Are good for learning!
- From
Learning With the Body in Mind by Eric Jensen
Visual Arts
• Art is way of thinking and demonstrating
the product of thinking.
• Visual learning = improvement in reading,
creativity, math scores.
• Drawing complements the writing and
thinking process.
• Drawing forces us to visualize and plan
our actions.
• Early exposure to visual images are critical
to stimulate the brain.
• Visual tools can help students think.
The Link Between
Drawing and Writing
Both:
• Are ways of using pictorial and
written symbols to represent ideas
and feelings
• Involve psychomotor skills
• Depend on similar cognitive abilities
• Involve expressive arts
• Are developmental
Fine Motor Skills
• Grasp
• Strength
• Control
• Dexterity
• Hand dominance
Language and Literacy Development
“As early as age three or four years, children
can recite poetry, memorize, invent, and
perform finger plays, and begin rhyming
words. These are some of the fundamental
tools for developing language skills.”
- Goals 2000 Task Force Report
Expose young children to art
resources.
•Display reproductions of art
•Read children’s books about artists in various fields
•Visits to art museums, galleries and local studios
•Guest artists visits to classrooms
•Children’s books that help them develop appreciation
of art concepts and art work
Engage young children in talking
about art.
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Ideas
Process
Materials
Knowledge/concepts/vocabulary
Reflection
Planning
Children with language-related delays and children
who are second-language learners especially
benefit from having their experiences and
understandings communicated through art, a
nonverbal form of expression that is readily
available to them.
- Sounda, Guha & Qiu, 2007
The Effects of Music on
Brain Development and Learning
“Music… excites inherent brain patterns and
promotes their use in complex reasoning
tasks.”
- Black, 1997
Research suggests that music…
• Facilitates reading
• Facilitates awareness and
discrimination of sounds
• Enhances visual-motor skills
• Regulates stress
• Enhances memory systems
- Eric Jensen, Arts With the Brain in Mind
Dramatic Arts
Children… benefit from play-based instruction in which
they invent dramatic play scenarios. Sociodramatic play
increases oral language use and enables children to plan,
negotiate, compose, and carry out the “script” of their
play. These skills are related to the development of
reading comprehension.
- Snow et.al. (1998) Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children
Social/emotional Development
• Self concept
• Confidence
• Expression of feelings
• Communication of ideas
• Relationships
• Respect
• Understanding of others
• Community
Provide ALL young learners…
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Enough time to express themselves
Safety to experiment
Respect for their work and their efforts
Interest so the child wants to continue
Support for a wide range of expression
Provide ALL young learners variety in…
• Formats: large/small, vertical/flat
• Surfaces: papers, textures, wood, cloth
• Media: tempera paint, finger paint, water color,
markers, chalk (wet/dry), photography,
sculpture, construction, fabric, paper, wood
• Locations: areas of the room; indoor/outdoor
• Social groupings: solo, partners, small group,
large group
The Ultimate Test: 4 Key Questions
1. Are ALL children able to experiment
freely with art and explore what
happens?
2. Will each child’s work look different
from the others?
3. Is the goal of the activity the
children’s enjoyment rather than a
product to please adults?
4. Will the child’s effort lead to
something that is satisfying to the
child at his or her level of
development?
Research on the Arts and Learning
Online Resources
Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic
and Social Development
http://www.nasaa-arts.org/publications/criticalevidence.pdf
Report on Learning, Arts, and the Brain:
http://www.dana.org/uploadedFiles/News_and_Publicati
ons/Special_Publications/Learning,%20Arts%20and%20
the%20Brain_ArtsAndCognition_Compl.pdf
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