The 2018/2019 school year is right around the corner, and that means it is time to start thinking about science projects, math equations, history reports, and after-school sports. But let us not forget about the arts—from marching band, school plays, ceramics, and watercolor paintings—the arts are important. Whether you are a parent, teacher or student, this year I encourage you to consider the importance of arts education; it’s the STEAM behind creative thinking!
Arts education covers a wide-range of disciplines and has multiple definitions. I like Americans for the Arts (AFTA) broad definition of arts education. Americans for the Arts (2013) defines arts education as “instruction and programming in all arts disciplines, including but not limited to dance, music, visual arts, theater, creative writing, media arts, and arts history, criticism, and aesthetics (p. 6).”
I believe that arts education is important because it includes both instruction and programming—in and out of the classroom—and comprises all arts disciplines. Inside the classroom arts education can range from STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts, and math—curriculum to arts-integration programs. Such programs can include arts integration residencies, where teaching artists use performing and visual arts to explore and teach academic subjects. You can learn more about arts integration here.
Outside of the classroom, arts education can include after-school art classes, weekend dance classes, music lessons, and summer theater camps. The Bilingual Guide to Children’s Art Activities is a wonderful resource to various art, dance and music classes as well as summer camp programs for children of all ages and backgrounds. Click here to read this year’s Guide to Children’s Art Activities.
Whether inside or outside of the classroom, arts education provides students with the opportunity to learn everything from basic art skills and creativity to reasoning and problem-solving skills. The impact of arts education is far-reaching and that is why it is so important. Arts education can happen during the school year or summer break. It can include science, math, history and even physical activity—it’s all-encompassing! If you want to learn more about arts education and why it is so important, I encourage you to visit AFTA’s page on arts education. In the meantime, between science projects and math equations register your student for a dance class, theatre workshop, or voice lesson. I promise, it will enrich their life!