Arts and Crafts - Activities referred to loosely as arts and crafts, that include coloring, cut-and-paste, and the assembling of craft items according to specific instructions, typically emphasize the product, as the children are expected to achieve similar results. Although such activities are often identified in the school setting as art classes, they do not accommodate the child as an individual and cannot be expected to accomplish meaningful artistic or cognitive objectives. At best, they may serve to commemorate a holiday or provide a relaxing break. And while they may be excused as fine motor skill activities, such skills can be developed in more meaningful ways. In short, arts and crafts activities should not be used as a substitute for a quality art education program.
Art Education - A well-rounded art education course (like Choose Art), on the other hand, tends to be less specialized in focus, broader in scope, and more creativity-based than the fine arts, providing multiple opportunities for problem-solving experiences. Such a course is also less product-oriented than arts and crafts. Necessarily, the object is a general education of benefit to all students, not just the talented. An art education program should introduce a wide variety of media, attempt to develop aesthetic awareness along with a functional art vocabulary, teach the student to analyze and recognize a good composition, and provide for skill development, for the exposure and practice of various techniques, for the study of art and artists throughout history, and for opportunities for problem-solving. An art education program, then, is geared as much toward cognitive development as it is toward the development of talent.
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