How Can Art Provide Deeper Emotional Learning


Guest Post By Jane Sandwood

The creative arts have always been a powerful outlet for children’s emotions and developing emotional intelligence. The power that art, in particular, can have has been unearthed in a recent Contemporary School of Psychology journal, which found that art can even help to build compassion in children with traumatic early upbringings. Art helps to build confidence, create hobbies that can last a lifetime, and to help establish emotional intelligence. Adding a plan, form, and function to the learning experience can amplify these effects.

Keeping it simple

Children will, of course, like to keep it simple at first. For very young children, even scribbling lines and basic pictures can be beneficial. As a child starts to learn to read and follow instructions, more expansive tasks can be set out. Talking about art is the most important factor, according to Michigan State University. A child may choose to draw something close to home, like their house or family, or perhaps sketch something more magical, like a mythical creature. Providing guidance on how to achieve that, and then talking about why afterwards, will bed in any emotional discussion they have had with themselves and help parents to enhance learning.

Building a narrative

Taking art and breaking it down to the base emotions that power it can be beneficial not just for emotional development, but for influencing future art, too. Knowing that there’s a future end goal to work toward can be a powerful motivator, and improve the depth of the art a child produces. Of course, all art is valid, and that’s an important lesson in itself.

Mastering the craft

Life-long appreciation or creation of art is linked to a number of beneficial factors. The Stanford Social Innovation Review believes it can help to build solidarity with peers, be beneficial in tough times, improve individual resilience, and create long-term mental wellbeing. Mastering art through time will amplify those benefits and also create a hobby, or pastime, that can provide significant peace of mind and something to be proud of as adolescence gives way to the teenage years and then adulthood.

Art is powerful. More powerful, perhaps, than ever thought before. It can be the perfect outlet for all of life’s emotions, and brings with it the implicit capacity to help people change. Teach that to children and watch them flourish.