Painting – Waituhi
It’s one of the best forms of self expression there is… Painting/Waituhi lets you express yourself freely. A painting or drawing often represents not just what you see, but what you feel. It’s a great outlet for emotions and creativity. This is one of the best ways for tamariki to let their imaginations run wild.
At the same time, painting and drawing both encourage many motor skills that are so important for the development of tamariki.
Hand, eye, arm and body coordination are enhanced, and the finger and hand muscles are further developed. This is important also because it can lead on to the development of writing skills.
It also aids visual perception – which is how the brain makes sense of what the child is seeing – and then brings in the fine and gross motor skills to make those observations a reality.
This is where painting something specific, like a flower, can be really developmental. Yet, there’s always room for being more free-form.
But more than that, painting lets a child put their feelings on paper, to express ideas, experiment with colour and texture, and use shapes and forms to convey their thoughts in a way that they may not have words for. It’s a chance to decide what colours they like, whether they want to be tidy and contained, or big and bold.
If it’s finger painting, tamariki can discover how it feels to touch the paper, and what it’s like to move your finger around with the paint.
Meanwhile using a paintbrush advances this by enhancing fine motor skills.
Expressing how you see the world.
Beyond that, it’s a great way for children to share how they see the world. Or what they can imagine.
And then, tamariki can bring it home to put up on the fridge.
That also gives parents and whānau a chance to talk to them about their work. To praise it and value something they’ve created. A good way to engage in conversation is to start with what we see: “I really like the big green circle in the middle.” or, “Tell me about your painting…”
Such interactions are a great way to help discover what tamariki are thinking. So much more goes into a painting than just what we see as the end result.
Once again, this supports all strands of Te Whāriki, the NZ National Early Childhood Curriculum. Concepts of communication and exploration immediately come to mind.
The other great thing about painting is that there is no right or wrong.
This acceptance of everyone’s approach as being valid sits comfortably alongside the fact that visual creativity is central to most cultures on earth. It allows an appreciation of different styles and encourages the acceptance of varying points of view.
All of this also aids in building self-esteem and confidence.
While there’s lots of in-depth science behind how the brain works, and how painting stimulates the ‘right side’ of the brain, with visual skills and creativity, it’s also simply good fun!