Many schools are slashing art and music from their curriculum. When their budget is cut, they tend to focus on ‘important’ subjects like Math and Science (or even the school football program!) instead of putting money in the arts. But arts are part of a well-rounded education. Here are some of the benefits of an art program.
Art is learning while doing
Art students develop the capacity to ‘integrate many aspects of the self’. For instance, you cannot learn to play the piano by watching someone do it or reading a book about it. You have to actually play the piano. To create art, a child engages his mind, body and… heart.
Art uses failure – to learn.
Artistic endeavors cannot escape errors or adjustments. Failure is necessary for growth and learning. This also develops a child’s critical thinking because they have to learn how to constantly assess themselves and their creations. When your child’s Lego tower topples or her paper mache globe breaks and crumbles, it’s an opportunity to figure out what went wrong and get it right the next time.
Art teaches persistence.
Since errors and adjustments are part of the artistic process, children learn how to persevere despite setbacks. Art projects also take time and effort to finish. A ballerina knows that it takes years of consistent practice to reach prima status, so she learns to persist in her passion.
Art teaches a positive sense of self.
Young artists form a positive sense of self from what they do rather than who their family is, who their friends are or how they look. The work they create gives them a sense of accomplishment that fosters self-esteem and confidence.
Art teaches kids collaboration.
In arts like theatre or music, children learn to be sensitive and responsive to others. They learn to cooperate and work together to create their best performance. Even in solo arts such as painting or writing, there is collaboration when they have to deal with mentors and their audience.
Art develops the imagination.
Artists have to imagine new realities, new forms and new interpretations. Creation starts with the imagination! Albert Einstein himself said: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.’
Art shows kids that learning is an ongoing process
In this sense, art is like science because you can never really stop learning or doing. When an idea is born, new ideas follow. When a question is answered, new questions emerge.
Photo from ecomom.com