Since I was in elementary school, I have based my education off of the arts. From chorus to band, theatre to writing and drawing, I always had something creative going on. Regardless of my age or how wild my imagination could be, creating was something I loved to do. Whether it was building the lives of characters on a page or bringing those characters to life in a play, I created. Since childhood, I have not stopped being involved in the arts. I believe that this has not only shaped me as a person but influenced my life for the greater good. My exposure to the arts in elementary school allowed me to gain lifelong skills.
The arts belong in the school curriculum.
The arts belong in every person's life, not to be pushed aside by other subjects. Of course, math and science are important for each child to understand where the world comes from and how it works. But ask yourself this: how could we make the world all that it is today without the arts? And how can we continue to change, improve, and influence the world if we push art out of the everyday life?
"The study of drama, dance, music, and the visual arts helps students explore realities, relationships, and ideas that cannot be conveyed simply in words or numbers." Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education 2011.
Imagine your living room. Picture the color of the walls, the furniture, the television and the movie it might be playing. Now, imagine the people who designed each part. An architect designed the limits of the space. Wall colors and floor materials could have been picked by an interior designer. Actors, directors, producers, and set and sound directors helped make the movie that is playing on your television. Your life has been built by people who are involved in the arts. So why are we taking it away from education?
"Arts education isn't something we add on after we've achieved other priorities, like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It's actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place." Michelle Obama, First Lady.
When a child learns a skill influenced by the arts, they aren't memorizing information for tests. They are learning how to do things with their own hands and minds. They learn that being themselves is OK, being unique is the key to life. This person can now go on to influence another generation with their perspectives granted to them by the arts. That is the reason arts are so important, and why I wanted to major in theatre education.
What other significances do arts in the curriculum give to our students? You'd be surprised how well-rounded students can be when involved in creative pastimes. A study by James Catterall in both the 1990's and in 2009, showed a correlation between good grades and high involvement in the arts. The study found that these creative students had better grades, higher earnings, and more volunteer hours than the average student. Another study from 2014 showed similar data to James Catterall's study. Students that took four years of music and art classes had higher SAT scores.
Do the world a favor and support education by supporting arts in the school. Give kids the chance to learn about themselves, show them how they can change the world. Let life continue to bloom and flourish, just like the arts allow it to.