The Atlantic

​​​​​​​The Diminishing Role of Art in Children's Lives

Kids have fewer opportunities to do art in school and at home—and that could have long-term consequences.
Source: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

Ik ben ik”—I am me—was the classroom theme when my son started preschool in the Netherlands two years ago. He painted a portrait of himself, with exaggerated teeth only on the bottom row and three strands of wiry hair on his head (“hair is hard,” he later told me). He went on to depict his home life: our canal-side house more wavy than erect; his father and I standing beside a cat we do not own; and his baby sister next to him while his other sister—his nemesis at the time—was completely absent. It was the first real glimpse we had into his experiences and sense of self, and it was both insightful and entertaining.

My house is covered in the artwork of my three children. My middle child’s self-portrait, for

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