As a parent of 2 boys in arts-centric schooling, I was recently asked my thoughts on the importance of this type of education. Check out my response:
What are the benefits of arts education, and how important are they? I’m curious to know whether parents have seen any such benefits firsthand, and the reason they enrolled their children in an art-centric school.
A broad and deep reaching education, in as many diverse areas as possible, is instrumental in building a strong foundation for our children and ultimately our society. Within the curriculum that our children are exposed, I feel it is the arts that will create their best chance at a rich, diverse and well-rounded life. The arts produce our most widely consumed forms of media which include music, dance, art, creative writing, film, photography, theater and many more. It is through arts-centric programming that our children learn skills that are incredibly beneficial in all other areas of life. Experimenting with painting or photography or singing are highly encouraged and reward. That appreciation of trial-and-error is critical for effective scientific endeavors. Dance and dramatic performance reward children with confidence, learning to be leaders, collaborating with others in more organic and nuanced ways than any group project for science class. Experimenting with creative writing and film require the creator to put themselves into others shoes and to put a portion of themselves into the product that they are creating; learning how to be vulnerable, exposed, and humble are life skills that every child will need. The arts teach confidence, exploration, experimentation, expression, and collaboration in ways that many other classes are incapable of capitalizing on. If anything our children need more exposure to the arts rather than less. This exposure can come through dedicated classes or through integrating the arts into non-art classes. I recall taking a combined American history/English class, where we read books from the era, watched movies based upon the era, listened to music from the era, and learned the history of the era. The combined transmedia focus of the class enriched and strengthened the learning more than simply reading a history book. If the view of how to make us a more successful nation is through making our children better at primarily math and science I fear for the beauty that will be lost from the world. This is why I choose for my child to be in an arts-based education.