Building the Vocabulary Skills of Preschoolers with Art-Specific Terms
During early childhood, a child’s vocabulary is develops fast. By learning and hearing new words regularly, they gain skills in language from several curricular areas. This article gives some ideas on how to build a child’s vocabulary in visual arts.
Importance of Having Art Vocabulary for Children
Building a child’s knowledge of artistic words is an important part of their overall language development. The NAEYC or National Association for the Education of Young Children includes in their accreditation criteria the inclusion in the daycare curriculum of some topics on development of art vocabulary for children to enhance their cognitive development. It is further stated in the Standard 2.J.04 that children must be provided with various opportunities to help them learn vocabulary and new concepts related to music, dance, drama, and arts. This is under the Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria of NAEYC in 2006.
By helping children to build new art words, it will enhance their skills and capabilities in verbalizing their emotions, thought, and concepts that are related in what they usually see (including the aesthetic development) and create. You can introduce art vocabulary to children in their art classes or activities on art viewing. The art making activities are consist of either formal or informal art lessons.
When and How to Introduce the Art Vocabulary
As early as possible, art should be introduced to children. Activities on art viewing improves their vocabulary. You may have activities like looking posters or paintings of famous painters, looking some illustrations of pictures of a book, or simply viewing an art work made by a child during his art show. These educational activities give fun and enjoyment to the children and they also gain additional benefit because this aids in aesthetic development.
To easily introduce some art vocabulary to children, you have to learn words first. You can refer to resource guides on art making for teachers or you can also use the internet. The ArtLex website gives excellent and enormous definitions on different art words. After learning several art words, the next thing to do is to use these terms during your art class. Like for example, you can use the term “collage” when the kids are cutting some papers and gluing them. Do not simply call it a cutting-and-gluing activity, use “collage” instead. Explain to them the new term and let them apply it to their art activity. After introducing the new word, let the children pronounce it several times for correct pronunciation. Continue using the new art term and the children will surely remember it.
Art Vocabulary Terms
These are some art terms that the young children can basically use: colour, collage, primary and secondary colours, paint, sculpture, photography, mixed media, portrait and self portrait, and print making.
Children can begin to develop vocabulary on visual art easily. You may start learning new words by yourself and use these during your classroom art activities. These will become part of their vocabulary once they hear these terms regularly.
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