(Cross-posted at Gifted Exchange) At my 5-year-old’s annual check-up the other day, the doctor asked if he was taking any art or music classes. I mentioned that he quite likes to draw (my office paper and pens walk off with regular frequency; I later discover when hunting for them that he’s written and illustrated a book). She suggested that I enroll him in an art class at a local arts center.
I have to say, I am torn. I’ve been reading and writing about talent development for years. Many readers of this blog have children with prodigious math or music talents. Part of developing those talents has been exposing the children to adults who can help them learn how to get better, early on.
But I also suspect that most kid art classes for 5-year-olds will be about encouraging creativity, or telling him to draw certain things. And he doesn’t need grown-ups encouraging him to be creative or draw certain things. He draws whatever he wants right now and comes up with rather interesting ideas. He’s in the process of discovering the concept of perspective (“You can’t see my legs in this picture, mommy, because I’m behind the elephant”) and setting (“You can see I’m in Arizona because of the cactus.”) Right now he’s drawing because he loves it. I’m worried that turning it into something you do on Mondays at 4 will undermine this intrinsic motivation.
Yet, like I said, I’m torn. Classes might introduce him to other types of art (sculpture, painting) that we don’t do a lot of at home. How have you decided to enroll your children in classes or lessons? Do you think it was a good idea?
Map of Philadelphia and environs courtesy of Jasper