A common thread in arts education across the country is the constant de-funding of these programs in public schools. Programs are cut entirely or receive so little funding that it’s difficult for them to function, which is indicative of the priorities of local school boards considering that standardized testing is always fully funded. People say that arts education can be the highlight of a child’s school years by giving them skills and experiences they will always treasure, but what are these skills exactly?
It’s a well-known fact that a strong visual and fine arts education is a great way for children to develop their motor skills. Their fine motor skills (the coordination of the small muscle movements with the eyes) can be promoted through detail work like cutting, drawing, painting, and learning to play an instrument. This improves their ability to control the muscles of their fingers, hands, and forearms. Most fine motor skills are developed at earlier ages and continue to develop throughout elementary school. Gross motor skills (large muscle groups and whole body movements) will continue to develop well into high school. Things like dance, athletics, and theatre can teach children how to control their bodies as they require head-to-toe awareness in order for the student to be at the top of their game.
Through the arts, students can learn to communicate in new ways. By “reading” a work of graphic art students can learn to really see art as the author intends, and how to express thoughts and feelings through art themselves. The same is true of viewing a play or a dance. When they are able to experience these things, it can foster a creative passion for these forms of expression. They can learn about body language as well as how movements and visual images communicate emotions.
Focus & Perseverance
In order to become good at anything, a person has to be able to remain focused on a task even if it’s difficult. Any form of art can involve tough spots that your child will have to push through in order to succeed, and by doing so they’ll create a mindset that says they are capable of anything as long as they don’t give up or become distracted. This determination to achieve their goals will translate into every area of life and is a mindset that will continue to serve them wherever they go.
Receiving Constructive Criticism
Art and criticism go hand in hand. Most people relate negativity with criticism, but this isn’t actually the case. A well-intentioned critique should be welcomed, as it is only going to help you improve whatever you are doing. Through arts education, students can learn to interpret and use feedback in order to improve their practice because they’ll understand that this is the goal of criticism. Even if the criticism isn’t constructive , arts education can help teach your child not to internalize it but rather to recognize the intention and either accept or reject the feedback.
Beyond reading, math, and science (the subjects hardest hit by standardized testing) it’s important to allow children the opportunity to learn about and explore their passions and how those passions can be used to impact the lives of others. At St. Barnabas Episcopal School, we strive to provide your student with a variety of opportunities for creative expression. Whether it be music, dance, drama, art, or even sports, we want your student to follow their passions as part of a well-rounded educational experience.
Our mission is to challenge each student in a supportive environment that promotes academic excellence and sound moral values within a framework of God’s love.