Evaluating Art Classes for Kids

Have you ever tried to choose an art class for your child and looked into so many different choices that you ended up missing the boat on all of them? Many parents have and from a point of view of an instructor I feel that the parents are worried more about the value of the money and not enough about the value to the child. So how do you choose something suitable for your child?

First of all look into the orgranizations in your area, have they been around a while, are there a variety of courses, etc? Can you read about the instructors, view their work, do they the have the knowledge you are looking for on the subject matter being taught? After evaluating the organization evaluate the pricing and courses, are they age appropriate, is the subject of interest to your child? Thirteen year olds don’t want to be in a class with seven year olds, or even ten year olds. Feel free to ask about references on the instructor if not well known because personalities do matter when teaching classes.

Once that has been done evaluate your child, this will be the hard part for many parents. Everyone thinks their child is better than they actually are, don’t push them beyond their interest limit. Create a plan for them if they are really interested in art. For instance I have many students who just want my cartooning class, but I try to get their parents to enroll them in more traditional drawing classes, courses with other instructors, etc. This gives them a well rounded view of the art world and will improve their skills much better than just taking a cartooning class with the same instructor. Also make sure your child can follow along in class, remember it is not the same structure as in school. I suggest if a child takes two or three courses with an instructor then it is time to change it up. Just the difference in perspective can teach the student a lot.

How do you know if your child is interested in art? Do they practice at home without being told? Do they show enthusiasm when completing projects from school in art? Have they signed up for extra art related courses at school? Do they read or look at art related materials such as comics, picture books, etc? If so then an art class may be the next step, if you are still not sure then buy them some cheap art materials and see if they get used. Most of all make it fun for them. When I teach I have the music on, I tell them jokes that are appropriate, etc. I have been into some classes that were so dull I don’t know how the students didn’t fall asleep. Remeber if the fun is there the skill will follow!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an illustrator, cartoonist, and instructor from the Southern Ontario area of Canada. He can be reached through his website at http://www.bruceoutridgeproductions.com

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