Children benefit from having a variety of art materials available to them at all times and a space to work, uninterrupted, when theyare inspired. It is important to provide the best quality that we can afford—pencils, crayons, felt pens, clay, paper, brushes—and to teach the child how to use and care for them.
Reproductions of great masterpieces, as prints, cards, or in books, inspire an appreciation of beauty at any age. We hang the pictures at the child’s eye level, and provide art postcards to sort into groups, such as by artist.
Stories about artists, especially as children, are interesting for children. Good art books can engage a child for hours.
At home or in the classroom, we can designate a “museum” table or shelf where beautiful art objects can be placed as a temporary art exhibit. Since everything else in the room is available for handling, this gives practice in just looking, as in a real museum, and allows close exposure to special items and beautiful objects that the child might not otherwise have.
This also introduces the idea that most “art” objects in museums were used in daily life, soup bowls, jewelry, tools, and other useful and decorative creations.
Whenever possible we give the best examples of art and the best art materials, at the youngest, most impressionable age.