It’s National Arts in Education Week: a time to unite and celebrate the life-transforming and life-affirming power that the arts can have on children’s lives.
But while it’s a time to rejoice, the sad truth is that Art Education is beginning to find itself on the chopping room floor.
As school budgets get squeezed, the typical curriculum is getting narrower. Principles are feeling pressured to focus on a tighter set of ‘core academic subjects’. This comes as little surprise in a culture where success is often measured purely on academic outcomes.
But here’s the thing:
Art Education is vital. For a start, there is mounting evidence that it enhances academic results. But more importantly, learning arts cultivates cognitive abilities, nurtures positive character traits, and fosters critical thinking. It expands awareness, increases empathy, and develops an array of social skills. And that’s just the start!
Here is a list of 51 evidence-based benefits that Arts Education provides for children and young people:
Our children deserve to be immersed in a learning environment that is rich and balanced. One that attends to mind, body, and wellbeing. As adults we know how essential this is for happiness as well as productivity. Why should it be any different for our children?
Arts Education provides kids with unique experiences which help then to develop a sense of self and identity. It nurtures their confidence and expands their worldview. It may also lead to a lifelong passion or creative career.
And here’s the kicker:
Even if a young person has their heart set on an academic or technical career, still, integrating arts into their learning can raise it to the next level.
When kids have an arts lesson or their teacher simply incorporates arts within regular STEM subjects, this has a powerful disrupting effect on their day; it can feed their imagination and fuel their joy, breaking them out of the treadmill of core academia. The result: young minds refreshed and ready to tackle their Math and English with vigor and wonder.