What do children learn when they paint?
Although art educators have an abiding belief in the benefits art activity has for children, the grounds for holding this belief are often less than clear.1 What is it that art activities provide to children? Why do children make visual images? What is it that nature provides and what is it that culture provides in the course of a child’s development in art? But perhaps more specifically, what is it that children learn when they paint, draw, or make three-dimensional images? Questions such as these serve as the focus of this paper. In it I shall describe nine consequences or potential consequences for children who are given the opportunity to work with teachers of art. All of these consequences represent an attempt to answer the question: What do children learn when they paint? Before trying to answer this question, a word should be said about why the question itself is important.