When looking for summer programs for children, many people try to find something fun that will fill the out-of-school time so children (and parents) get a break from the school routine. Numerous studies, however, acknowledge that those few months out of the classroom can be a time when children lose skills and knowledge. Summer arts programs help bridge the gap between summer fun and enhancing academic skills.
The Northwest Art Center, a non-profit organization that offers visual arts programs for children, youth, and adults, provides year-round art education programs that give students a solid grounding in the fundamentals of art while incorporating fun and creative expression. Summer programming happens for children ages 3 through 17.
The art classroom can be a supportive, nurturing space for younger children, especially those who are new to school. Working with clay, holding a paint brush—these are great ways for small hands to develop the fine motor skills needed for gripping a pencil, shaping letters, and turning pages of a book. Mixing colors and deciding whether to use tape or glue helps practice planning and problem solving. Best of all, children are learning and growing while having fun.
For older children, art continues these lessons but also brings in elements of line, perspective, and shadow that are integral to geometry and important skills in a world that increasingly relies on visuals to communicate. Art also provides an opportunity for creative self-expression—something that is important for all ages but can be a powerful tool for teens who often feel misunderstood. If you’ve ever doodled in a frustrating meeting or blasted music after a bad day, you understand how the arts can tap into feelings we don’t always have the words or opportunity to express. Our focus is not on producing masterpieces, but teaching students the value of engaging in the creative process.