Involving children in visual art, music, and creative movement helps develop fine motor control, visual learning, and a host of important skills. Despite this, arts opportunities tend to diminish as children progress through elementary school.
Viewed as separate from a school’s curriculum, art is often considered a “nice to have” and is therefore vulnerable to funding cuts. Many people consider the arts as something practiced on the side, and by middle school, students often think the arts are reserved for “talented people.” Most assume they lack the necessary talent.
The benefits of arts education are powerful. Visual and performing arts are perfect for cultivating a growth mindset, the empowering view that abilities can be developed through effort. Creative problem-solving, communication, and collaboration – key career skills – are fostered. An essential benefit of arts education is how it broadens the way we view the world and approach challenges.
Here are some ways to involve children in the arts:
- Start young. Beginning before age 6-7 is developmentally optimal.
- Be social. Children are more likely to enjoy art when experienced with others.
- Allow sampling. Let your child explore different disciplines to find one that captivates them. Don’t force it.
- Think broadly. There are many forms of artistic expression, including creative writing and poetry.
- Promote it. Be a voice supporting arts education in your child’s school.
- Live it. Make art part of your family’s everyday life. Sing or play instruments together; go to museums and art festivals; and attend dance, music, and theater performances.
The arts provide young people with a way to express thoughts, feelings, and hopes. Art connects them to their own culture and the wider world.
Simply put, art matters.
To learn more about the arts in grades 6-12 at Pacific Ridge School, visit www.pacificridge.org.