How important is art in a child's development?
Hugely important! For many people creativity is at the core of their being and it is no different for children. Art is a way for people to explore their world by using many different skills. Focus, motor skills and imagination are areas that are helped by art and, most importantly, self esteem and happiness.
How do you encourage a reluctant child to get involved?
Generally children are creativity hungry. Some schools find that the time they can allow for art has been squeezed by the drive for literacy and numeracy. Occasionally I get children who are very hard on themselves and are worried that their work will not be 'good enough'. Showing art technique and encouraging good work helps give the confidence to learn and explore art further.
What have you found to be the most popular media?
Most children love clay - which is great as I do too! Many schools shy away from art, clay in particular, as they feel it might be messy or don't have the confidence to teach it. There are ways of managing these issues and the benefits for children and schools far outweigh these worries.
How do you keep the children engaged?
I find exploring art with young people is like opening a box of infinite possibilities, and I am lucky enough to jump in and explore it with them. Keeping them engaged is never an issue but wanting more time, well...
Brenda Burgess is a Kent based artist, portrait sculptor and art workshop leader who has worked as an art course leader for the last eighteen years. Find out more about the children's workshops and adult sculpture days that Brenda runs at www.arteducationforall.co.uk