Why Schools Need Art Programs

Art programs are growing in popularity in more school districts across the country. Discoveries in childhood mental development say that practicing arts has several benefits. Art enhances neural pathways that enhance muscular coordination, emotional intelligence, confidence, and physical well-being (2). Educators now implement a myriad of artistic methods in subjects from American History to Math! And the results have been remarkable!

 

Music and Theatre Meet Math and History

Studying music teaches fractions, timing, and patterns. Classical music from around the world can serve as an engaging backdrop to world geography discussion in the classroom (1). Why are some kinds of music across continents so similar while others are wildly diverse? Why do so many cultures have string and woodwind instruments? Such cultural study and anthropological observation broadens student’s horizons and enforces critical thinking skills!

Play-acting isn’t just for pre-school. Students can study literature, creative writing, public speaking, and history through theatre. In addition, studying different theatrical practices around the world and throughout history creates a diverse cultural experience.

Tom Horne is a classically trained pianist who believes schools should implement more arts-influenced education. Horne is also the Arizona state superintendent of public instruction. While in office, he obtained better funding for arts programs and added an arts coordination position in Arizona’s Department of Education. He stated that “We’re preparing kids for jobs. We’re preparing them to be citizens. And we’re teaching them to be human beings who can enjoy the deeper forms of beauty. The third is as important as the other two (1).” Obviously, arts instruction is paramount to fostering the development of well-rounded human beings; a cornerstone to any society’s function.

 

Can Art Programs Improve World Crises?

Perhaps the most important reason why schools should have arts and music programs is the impact these programs have on a lesson’s effectiveness. Students really hear and feel the content. Practicing arts enables students to expand their mental capacities beyond rote memorization. Art enables the mind to break free. Just think of the advantages of discovering many answers to any of the multitude of issues in our world today (2)! Taught through the arts, students learn to deal with the uncertainties of the world.

 

There exists a fundamental need to express the innermost human desires. Studying the arts facilitates expression (3). Whether through music or dance, art has the ability to lend a voice to individualism. What’s more, elite groups from around the globe now recognize several types of intelligence and that  practicing the arts gives us access to higher forms of intelligence (2).

 

Essentially, the arts provide a bridge to connect the learner and the material. Furthermore, the arts represent a relationship between the learner and the material. That relationship has no boundary, so it can encourage students to take their educational pursuits to the highest levels of engagement. Clearly, arts education is an imperative component and a basic necessity of childhood education.

 

 

 

Resources:

1. http://www.edutopia.org/arts-music- curriculum-child- development

2. http://www.katyisd.org/dept/finearts/pages/the-importance- of-fine- arts-education-.aspx

3. Eisner, E. (1987). Why the arts are basic. Instructor’s 3R’s Special Issue.34-35.

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