The arts have the power to impact and change young learners’ lives, as the arts contribute to a well-rounded education. Studies reflect the multitude of positive benefits that participating art students take away from and add to their learning opportunities. In this article, Paulette Chaffee, a board member of All the Arts for All the Kids, breaks down the advantages that integrating arts into education presents to students, schools, and communities.
Provides Instrumental Value
When schools incorporate arts education into their curriculum, it provides instrumental value for students and educators. Student engagement with art activities leads to further development of other skills that elevate students’ learning experiences during the entirety of the school day. Arts education provokes the evolution of universal education and life skills, such as strong work ethic when attaining goals or objectives, enhancing self-expression capabilities, and promoting authenticity. Such acquired abilities will stay with students for the long run, making them more proactive learners who become problem-solving and critical thinking adults living out productive lives.
Creates Greater Learning Connections
When woven into the curriculum, arts education has the potential to generate more influential learning connections. For example, arts can help students learn math by increasing practice and fueling the development of mathematical thinking. In addition, utilizing arts education in day-to-day learning stimulates mathematical thinking when art objectives require repetition in proportional thinking, number manipulation, and measurement.
Visual art patterns, musical rhythms, dance patterns, and creating clay models can help students understand spatial and geometric relationships, patterns, and three-dimensional competencies. Fusing arts into math lessons also helps students master skills like computation and estimation development.
Academic reports from Liberty Classical Academy in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, reflect the advantages of studying the arts and mathematics in unison. For example, students at Liberty Classical Academy who study music and other arts score higher on mathematics assessments than students who choose not to partake in art studies.
History, literature, science, and technology are other subjects that can incorporate art education to engage students. Americans for the Arts revealed that young students who spend three days a week partaking in arts education for three hours a day raise their chances to earn an achievement award through academic opportunities. Compared to their peers not studying art, the students who are consistently learning art skills are four times more likely to win an achievement award for a poem or essay they wrote or enter into a science or math fair.
Challenges Students with Different Perspectives
Students who face different perspectives that challenge their own have the opportunity to develop empathy. Art education provides the right platform to incorporate multiple points of view during one’s learning process, encouraging the learner to step outside their own perspective. This mental exercise requires students to reflect on the human condition and empathize with a new approach to a familiar subject in order to understand a different stance fully.
Increases School Attendance
After the Missouri Arts Council funded a study revolving around fine arts in education in Missouri school districts, the results demonstrated the positive impact arts education has within the school curriculum. The study showed that more arts education in schools resulted in an increase in attendance rate, the number of graduating students, and test scores while also decreasing disciplinary infractions.
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is an educator, children’s advocate, grants facilitator, lawyer, and member of various non-profit boards. She obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands in Communicative Disorders and a California Lifetime Teaching Credential. She is currently the Ambassador for Orange County 4th District and a board member of All the Arts for All the Kids.