Why Art is the Secret Brain Builder
Amidst all the loud debate about standardized tests, scores, and drill-skill-kill, there is a concept that is quietly talked about among teachers and researchers as one of the best predictors of school and life success: executive function.
Sadly, it is probably the most neglected of the essential skills that we need for our kids to learn.
Executive function you may ask? "Is that some kind of new board room strategy that we are trying to teach kids?"
Not quite- but it is what sets successful students and adults apart from the average and is a necessary life skill for our future.
Executive function is a person's ability to analyze, plan, and reflect on their actions in order to achieve a goal.
"Where can my child learn this skill?" you ask anxiously.
In the one area that is consistently cut by school programs- visual and creative arts.
Surprise! The value of visual and creative arts is not just to feel a sense of pride of accomplishment as many would think. Visual and creative arts encourage development of working memory, mental flexibility, self control and perseverance.
Just imagine the mental gymnastics that a child must go through to bring an idea they may have to life: they have to imagine it, create a model, go through the agony of getting it wrong (sometimes over and over), trying multiple approaches, being patient while going through the process, dealing with defeat and discouragement, trying again, and all the while staying calm and optimistic, until finally their idea becomes reality.
Our "Teaching for Artistic Behavior and Thinking" approach at Yellow Bird Studio provides that laboratory for brains to build executive function skills in a positive and nurturing atmosphere that has real and lasting effects for your child.
The best time to start is during toddler-hood, when your child's brain is craving receptive to exciting and challenging stimuli and experiences on a frequent basis. But even older children learn this skill and benefit from the structured and unstructured opportunities we give them to explore what is on their mind and in their heart.
Developing executive function thinking skills, creativity, and social/emotional development are the core reasons we opened Yellow Bird Studio: to provide this kind of learning and growing experience to children in our community!