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What to expect in preschool: art

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By Diana Townsend-Butterworth

How to help at home

  1. Make art a part of your life. Have a variety of inexpensive art materials available: crayons, markers, safe scissors, paste, paper, old magazines and pieces of wrapping paper, play dough or reusable modeling clay.
  2. Involve your child in every step of the process, from set-up to clean-up.
  3. Allow your child the freedom of self-expression. Remember the process is more important than the product, says Schwarz. Don't expect perfection.
  4. Ask your child questions and encourage her to talk about her work.
  5. Write your child's name on his work and display it around the house where he can see it. Buy or make an inexpensive frame to show off his favorite picture.
  6. Have art in your home. Many museums sell inexpensive reproductions and posters from exhibits.
  7. Take your child to museums on a regular basis, but keep the trips short - no more than one hour.
  8. Make the trip a learning experience for you as well as your child. Let your child see you learning something new.
  9. Don't lecture or overwhelm your child with facts about the history of impressionism. Encourage him to experience a painting for himself. Teach him to notice its details. Consider writing down his thoughts and discussing them later.
  10. If you feel uncomfortable in museums or talking about art, consider joining a parent/child class at your museum. Many of these classes are free.

Diana Townsend-Butterworth is a former teacher and head of the junior school at St. Bernard's School in New York City. She is the author of Your Child's First School and Preschool and Your Child.