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Adapting Children’s Art Education for Diverse Learners

Adapting art education in Oregon.
Image Credit – Iryna Inshyna/

Welcome back to another art literacy lesson for the classroom. In the last lesson we looked at ways for kids to create art from nature. Today, we’re examining how to adapt art education for children with diverse learning abilities.

Teaching kids with various physical and cognitive needs requires an individualized approach that allows each child to thrive. With a thoughtful, inclusive lesson plan, you can ensure every student has access to a quality arts education.

Ways to Teach Art to Kids With Diverse Learning Needs

Creating a positive environment for every student can be challenging due to limited time and resources. However, with the following tips teachers can assess a child’s needs and adapt the learning approach to best suit them.

Demonstrate the Artistic Technique

Many children will benefit from seeing an artistic technique demonstrated by the teacher in a step-by-step format. This approach lets the child follow your lead and offers interactive practice. This method can also work using video tutorials that provide clear descriptions of the technique.

Create Art Projects for Children With Disabilities

We recently recommended a series of creative art projects for kids with disabilities. Many additional projects allow children with diverse learning abilities to participate in a meaningful and enjoyable art education. From sensory clay modeling to digital illustrations with a tablet, each project can be tailored to a child’s abilities.

Focus on the Creative Process Over the Final Result

An essential part of adapting art education is promoting the importance of trying new techniques and ideas without fear of making mistakes. The hands-on process of creating new art offers the most room for development, whether it’s improved fine motor skills, better problem-solving abilities or added self-confidence.

Provide a Range of Materials

Art materials are integral to delivering an inclusive art education. Adaptive tools like easy-grip brushes, loop scissors, even accessible software can help kids with diverse physical needs, while materials like playdough or textured paint will appeal to many children.

Create a Supportive Classroom Environment

Positive feedback can help students build confidence and continue to work with challenging techniques. By adapting each project as required, every child will participate and feel included in the group.

Make Lessons Accessible

Let students work at their own pace, allowing children with specific physical or learning challenges the time needed to work through a project. For every lesson, break down each section or technique into clear, manageable steps – and include visual aids for kids who could benefit from them. In addition, make use of the many free online art resources specifically designed for kids of different abilities.

Watch Inclusive Art Lessons for Kids

At Golden Road Arts we have a wide-ranging collection of art lessons for elementary and middle school children. And if you need help developing art projects for the classroom, browse our tutorials. Watch our free art lessons today.

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