A child benefits from using an easel in drawing and writing because during development the wrist naturally bends back at an angle compatible with its tilted drawing surface. It meets them halfway as the hand and arm muscles used in fine motor skills develop.
Experts recommend that children use an easel as early as age two. While the attention span is relatively brief, it gives them a tremendous breadth of training in multiple areas, strengthening development and skills, including self dressing with a paint smock, coordinating the balance in handling paint, paper and brushes, and paper, using expressive language and in a group setting, cooperating with peers at neighboring easel stations. The act of drawing and painting itself exercises hand-eye coordination.
Problem solving skills are exercised nearly every moment in the pre-school years, and with an easel, the tasks offer plenty of challenges. Successfully transferring paint to the paper, controlling and replenishing paint on the brush, color blending and aesthetic control of line and shape, which employs spatial skills later used in mathematics.
According to “Living the Arts through Language + Learning: A Report on Community-based Youth Organizations,” by Shirley Brice Heath, children who consistently participate in the arts increase their academic achievement potential by four times, including class office participation, math and science fair involvement and awards achievements.
- The easel is a perfect platform for experimentation. Use art supplies to paint or draw’ a large circle becomes an animal face, or a hot air balloon. Help them fill in the accompanying details as the imagination takes flight.
- Fill the space with lines of all lengths and shapes, with color and paint brush widths that overlap.
- Teach them about color combinations that create new colors: yellow/blue = green; red/blue = purple. The rainbow’s spectrum will become a mystery to unravel for years to come.
- Clean up time will help build the discipline skills that build a responsible character.
An easel is an idea station designed for a child’s physique and burgeoning intellect. Harnessing the power of creativity during the pre-school years will ease the journey into a more successful future.