The Importance of Coloring in Early Childhood EducationAs young children begin to explore with paints, crayons and other art supplies, their imagination develops. It is noticeable how the children like to get immersed in coloring. By experimenting with colors, shapes, paint and paint brushes that require different types of movements, children assign meaning to their drawings and coloring. The coloring is important because it enables the children to express themselves, learn color recognition, grip/control, coordination, build motor skills, and focus. Today I had a chance to observe a toddler of the age of four, Tony. When I arrive, he was sitting quietly at a round table with six other children (13mo old boy, 12mo old girl, a 2-year-old boy, 3-year girl, a 4-year-old boy, and another 4-year-old girl) waiting impatiently for the teacher to give instructions. In this paper, I will describe my observation of Tony and explain the importance of coloring and the benefits that can help cognitive, psychological and creativity development.
Young children, particularly in preschool, work best while in small groups due to their developing cognitive and social skills. As a result, a good part of their day should be devoted to small group activities, such as learning centers. Temperament and confidence are some of the individual child characteristics that can influence the way they talk and interact with others (Bovey & Strain, 2003). As I started my observation, Tony and the other children were already sitting around the table. The table was setup with two baskets filled with an assortment of large crayons, pencils and glue bottles. There were also stickers, google eyes and different shapes of cookie cutters that were Christmas theme related and which the teacher held near her. The teacher began to pass out the cookie cutters, consisting of an angel, a gingerbread man and a bell. She instructed the children to trace one shape at a time from the outside. Tony was the first to receive a cookie cutter shape since he was next to the teacher. He got up, leaned over to reach for a pencil and began to trace. The other children followed but, I noticed that they all grabbed crayons to trace. As I continued to observe, a 4-year-old boy next to Tony, looked at him and saw he was using a pencil. He then went on to put his crayon back and use the pencil instead. Tony looked at him and said, Its easier look. Imitation is a way children learn from one another. Banderas theory of social learning asserts that humans learn more in a social setting. Through observation, people acquire knowledge of rules, beliefs, strategies, skills and attitudes. Individuals also learn about the usefulness and appropriateness of behaviors by observing models and the consequences of modeled behaviors. They act by their beliefs concerning the expected outcomes of actions (Redmond, n.d). During the next couple of minutes, the children continued to color in their traced shapes.
Later, the teacher opened her stickers and google eyes and she began to pass them out. Tony was next to her so he received the sticker of his choice (he picked a snowman) and the red color google eyes first. He began to peel it and placed it on his paper. Once he was done, he showed his teacher. Im done! Look at mine! Tony said with excitement and was looking for approval from his teacher. The teacher praised Tony with a Great job Tony, very nice coloring! Tony had such a big smile as he received praised from his teacher. While I was observing the children, I thought about Maslows Hierarchy of needs and the need for competence that Tony wanted to demonstrate by showing the teacher he was able to color in not coloring over the lines and that he could master the task at hand. Satisfying this need results in the sense of accomplishment, promotes self-efficacy, and helps learners establish better learning goals for future tasks (Woolfolk, 2016).
Towards the end, the children were required to clean up. The teacher asked the children to pick up their work and help put away the crayons, glue bottles and papers. Tony picked up the glue and placed it on the shelf. Similarly, all the other children finished picking up the items and gave them to the teacher. Snack time was approaching and the teacher instructed the children to wash their hands. Tony was the first one to wash his hands and the rest followed. They all went to sit at the snack table and waited for their snack. The snack consisted of baked tortilla chips and pinto beans (smashed not whole). During snack time, I observed the children and noticed that the child sitting next to Tony was very impatient and seemed a little hungry. Serving the snack was done from the youngest to the oldest. Tony was sitting quietly, observing as they were being served. As soon as the assistant gave him his snack, Tony turned to the child next to him and said: Here you can have mine, I can wait for the next one. The child next to him thanked him and began to eat the snack. It was wonderful to see Tony demonstrate prosocial skill. Children who demonstrate prosocial skills when they begin school continue with the same habit in the primary grades and their lives. Hyson & Taylor (2011) conducted a study where they followed children from preschool into early adulthood. Their findings indicated that children who spontaneously share more often than their classmates showed more prosocial skill 19 years later.
The coloring is crucial in children development because it enhances their cognitive, psychological and creativity aspects. I truly enjoyed observing Tony and the other children coloring and having snacks. During my observation of Tony as he was coloring, I noticed how focused he was on making sure he did not color outside the lines. I was able to learn through this observation that coloring promotes fine motor development, eye-hand coordination and focus. Also, I was able to identify Banderas theory of social learning and relate it to how well the children were learning in social groups. In addition, I noticed Maslows Hierarchy of needs; the need for competence in Tonys way of working because he worked diligently to get compliments from the teacher, something that seemed to promote his self-efficacy. From the observation, I learned that most of the adults who demonstrate prosocial skills acquire them early in their life, from as young as a toddler.
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