Preschool is a time of exploration, experimentation, and creativity and we strive to provide the children in our class with an abundance of these experiences during each day. We offer a wide range of tools and brushes for creating paintings, prints and collages for experimentation and freedom of expression. However, we also see the value in teaching the children to "color inside the lines."
Around the age of 3-4 children become more interested in making representational drawings which usually begin with faces. They also become interested in writing letters in their names. At this time preschoolers begin to benefit from some coloring activities. They are already making big efforts to control the way they move their crayon or pencil over the page. Trying to stay within the lines of a coloring picture is an extension of the same learning impulse and helps children learn to transition from making large sweeping movements with their arms and to smaller and more intentional movements using just their wrists and fingers. Whilst coloring in this way may not be seen as creative, it is developing key hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills which are fundamental in supporting the development your child's handwriting skills.
The activity of coloring has other benefits. The practice generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related the senses and creativity. It can begin to develop mindfulness in children, as they focus on one repetitive action. For some children, coloring can initially be a challenging task as they build up stamina, whether this is physical stamina in their hand muscles or stamina in concentration and stillness. Each week in class as the children focus on the letter of the week, we always provide a coloring activity that connects to the letter.