Historical, Culturally Diverse, Standards-Based Art Lessons to Inspire Young Artists

July 9, 2010

Why Children Need Art Education in School

Some schools, especially those lacking in funds, may choose to exclude art education from their curriculum. However, the students at these schools may be missing out on some important benefits of an education in the arts. Whether its painting, sculpture, band or theater, the arts provide students with an excellent opportunity to increase their academic success and develop important skills.

Cognitive Stimulation

Art education has been linked to advanced cognitive development in children. In a 1998 report, “Young Children and the Arts: Making Creative Connections,” researchers found that art education can contribute significantly to a child’s cognitive, language and motor skills. Another report from 2000 entitled “Learning and the Arts: Crossing Boundaries” stated that brain scans proved that all parts of the cerebral cortex are active while musicians are playing.

Academic Achievement

Many students involved in art classes perform better in school. According to Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, students who take art classes develop an increased capacity to learn because they expand their learning styles beyond linguistic and mathematical reasoning in their traditional classes. Dr. James Catterall from UCLA found that students who took arts classes performed better on standardized tests and had higher grades than students who did not participate in art education.

Job Opportunities

Art education can lead to a fruitful career. In 2002, The National Governors Association reported that art education can directly contribute to the acquisition of job skills such as problem-solving, creative thinking and communication. Furthermore, USA Today reported in 2006 that, over the next 10 years, jobs in the arts would increase twice as fast as those in the engineering field. Due to this, many international art students have been considering moving over to America where they will be more likely to find a job in the art industry. For any students considering this, they might want to consider doing some research before moving. For example, it’s advised that students learn more about getting a credit card upon arrival into America as this can be difficult. Without a credit card, international students will struggle to set themselves up in the country, impacting the sort of job they might get. It’s no doubt that the art industry is growing, but it’s important to research before catching a flight.

Personal Development

Students pick up important life skills from their education in the arts. Also reported in “Young Children and the Arts: Making Creative Connections” was the fact that students pick up excellent skills from a education in the arts, such as better memory, enhanced understanding and an ability to communicate symbolically. Education Week also reported in 2005 that art education can have a positive impact on a student’s drive to succeed and their ability to take on new challenges.

Public Opinion

In general, the public supports the inclusion of art programs in schools. A 2008 Imagination Poll found that 88 percent of voters believe that art education is essential for helping students set high standards for themselves and work toward achieving their goals. Furthermore, a 2006 Harris Poll reported that 96 percent of school principals found a correlation between involvement in the arts and attendance and graduation