No matter how naturally talented a child is that art is a good creative outlet for children, although the manner in which it is taught can lead to drawbacks in the child's development. There are pros and cons, not so much as to whether a child should be taught art, but as to the manner in which it is dealt with.
The way in which art becomes a pro is that it enables a child to display their creativity, and teachers that are mindful that all children are not of similar ability can actually enhance that child's experience by teaching the child to develop in their artistic expression. So what if a house doesn't look like a house? Abstract art has been known to be a useful tool in the treatment of mental illness in adults and certainly giving a child an area where they have free expression is a wonderful idea, as the child may be troubled, may not be that academic, and may need that free-form expression in order to develop character.
What a child can learn from art is the importance of the role of color. Even if they are not talented, color will play a huge part in their lives, and learning ways in which to use different colors and textures will enhance their lives later when they have homes of their own.
Learning different techniques is important too, as whereas a child may not be comfortable with oil paints, they may excel in water colors or acrylics, pastels or sketching. Teachers should be open in their teaching of art, since it makes individual people into individual adults that matter. Art does not have to be limited to painting practices, as art plays a part in creation, and creative crafts that are difficult for one child to tackle will be easy for another. The wider the scope of the art lessons, the more it achieves.
What happens in an ideal world is that everyone is catered for. However, what happens when schools stifle creative work with curriculum is that stigmas are created that can last a lifetime. "You're not much good at this", is a very negative feedback from a teacher to a child. The author of this guide had a classic art education and this was said to her forty years ago, though it took years to get rid of the stigma and realize that she was indeed creative.
Curriculum based teaching in academic subjects of course is necessary, though art teachers should be aware that for those children who will not excel to a future in art, there is a necessity to try and cater for them in school by offering choice and letting the child develop as best they can with limited ability.
The problems that face art teachers and schools are that their own horizons are so narrow. They forget that a child's imagination is a whole playground of new ideals and ideas, waiting to be matured, waiting to develop, and without understanding this, what teaching does is make the child feel their imaginative ideas are of no substance.
Art is a subject for everyone, not just the talented. Children can be taught, and it may take them a while to realize their potential. They should be encouraged and have that creativiy permitted during their childhood as this is an important element to the development of their character and the abilities they take through life.
Let a child's imagination be the limits of their learning.