Have you ever thought of finger painting or crayon doodles as being a pivotal part of early childhood development? If your answer is ‘no,’ take a moment to see if we can change your mind. As children are progressing through stages of early childhood development, it is important to expose them to many different skills, including art. While some may view art as a hobby or non-essential skill, there are many benefits of incorporating art into a therapeutic preschool program. This type of program can help all children build pivotal developmental skills, such as speech and language, but is especially helpful for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory issues, or other developmental delays.
Art can take many different forms, so chances are, there is something that every child can enjoy. In addition to being a fun activity to break up the day in a therapeutic preschool program, there are many therapeutic benefits (without even seeming like therapy!).
Speech and language: Many therapeutic preschool programs emphasize speech and language skills, since communication is one of the most significant skills acquired during early childhood development. Would you think that art can help develop these skills? If you guessed ‘yes,’ then you are correct! If a child is working on finger painting with their therapeutic preschool teacher, the teacher is able to introduce new vocabulary for the child, such as the object they are painting, the color they are using, etc. This activity also presents the opportunity for children to interact with one another and talk about their paintings. If a child has delays in their speech and language skills, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) might spend time building these skills during the class. This might include spending one-on-one time with the kiddos as they work on art projects (to engage in conversation).
Motor skills: The act of holding a crayon or paintbrush to create a painting in a therapeutic preschool program requires the use of fine motor skills, which involve the use of small muscles. If a child is experiencing delays in their fine motor skills, an occupational therapist (OT) might work with them one-on-one in their therapeutic preschool program to develop these skills through activities, such as painting or coloring.
There are many other ways that art can benefit children throughout early childhood development, such as cognition and planning skills. If you would like to continue reading, Michigan State University and PBS provide great information on this topic!
At CST Academy, we incorporate art into our daily routines, as we believe it is a highly effective way for children to develop key skills. Our team uses many different techniques during our art sessions with students, in order to add variety for our kiddos! Contact us at 773-620-7800 to learn more about our program that incorporates speech therapy, ABA therapy, occupational therapy, and feeding therapy.