Art Is Important For A Child’s Brain Development
Introducing children to art from an early age is important for their development. But why is that actually the case? Professor Erik Scherder explains exactly how looking at artworks. He is a professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the VU University in Amsterdam and has been the most famous professor in the Netherlands since his performances in De Wereld Draait Door.
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“The brain wants to be stimulated. And these stimuli must come from outside. Art appeals to creativity and is unique in this. This has been studied in large groups of people. Get the creative effect with something other than art. For example with hockey. You can’t! Art is about a unique combination of peace, ideas, social or alone activity. Immerse yourself in something, in combination with feeling emotional. Not only with being happy or sad, but also with those other emotions. The pride you feel when you have made something. The fact that you are rewarded, that you receive appreciation from others. The challenge of always wanting to come up with something new. Especially the latter is very important when making art. My own children often lay on the floor with their iPads. That can be creative. But if they keep doing that at the same level, the challenge needed for a positive effect on the brain is missing. Art has a higher level of creativity, ”says Professor Erik Scherder.
According to Scherder, the first 25 years of human life are the basis for healthy aging. “If you offer a child a lot, then that brain, because it enriches, builds on more points of contact. The more of these synapses, the more complex that brain becomes. And with that, the brain actually protects itself, as it were, against the development of age-related diseases. All contributions that you can contribute to this, especially in the first years of life, are extremely important. When someone looks at art, you see that activity arises in the brain stem. Then the entire bark becomes active. And a thicker bark in the growth of life also means that you are capable of much better thinking: speaking, calculating, and many other things.”
Babies to the art museum
Following the launch of Kunstfanaatjes.nl, the famous neuropsychologist was asked to comment on the importance of art in young children in the television program Editie NL. “Looking at art does indeed bring about a lot in the brain. You see that areas of the brain that play a role in arousal become active when you look at art. Your imagination is stimulated. ” Still, according to Scherder, there is still insufficient scientific evidence that a visit to an art museum really contributes to the development of the baby brain. “Babies can distinguish shapes and colors from the age of four months, but you don’t necessarily have to go to a museum to encourage that. You can also let the child play with toys, for example.”
Don’t let your brain down
“We have to keep our brain moving just like our body. If we don’t do this, it will go downhill faster and we have a higher chance of dementia. When we lounge around, our brain also becomes lazy. You don’t have a brain to get out of your head before you walk out the door and put it on the bedside table; you have to keep using your brain! In addition to the importance of art and culture as a stimulus for the brain, Erik Scherder also argues for literally more exercise. In his latest book Don’t Let Your Brain Down, he gives a scientifically substantiated, enthusiastic argument about this.