If you ask ten different people what art means to them, you’re likely to get ten different answers. Art is an individual’s way of expressing themselves and a way for students to develop skills like creativity, resilience, growth, and self-confidence.
Most educators and parents agree that the arts are an important part of any child’s education, which is why Congress designated the second full week of September as National Arts in Education Week. Be sure your child is exposed to many types of art, including the visual arts, such as painting, drawing, and photography, as well as theater, dance, and music, so they can enjoy all the benefits arts in education offers. Kids can only discover their own talents and interests when they have a chance to experience the many forms of art.
Read on to see how these students discovered their own passions for the arts!
Hannah: Writer and Illustrator
Hannah A. is a second-grade student at North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA) who loves expressing herself through art.
“Art is great because you can think of something, paint it, and draw it,” Hannah says. “It’s really fun, and it takes all your worries away.”
Hannah’s passion first started with drawing. She then expressed interest in sculpting, watercolor, and acrylic painting. Her passion for all art forms continues to grow and expand daily. She is currently focusing on painting canvases that her mother has around her house. She has also started writing a short booklet about Harold the mouse.
“I like booklets because you can bring them anywhere. Writing books is one of my passions. I just love it,” Hannah says. “It’s really nice to think about things, like animals, and write about them.”
Her mom, Victoria, says online public school allows Hannah the freedom to explore different art forms. She’s even going to start guitar lessons soon!
“Taking classes at NCVA allows Hannah to express herself,” says Victoria. “There’s so much I love about the school because she can get up and go to class, while learning distraction-free. NCVA has teachers who care and make sure that every child gets attention. That, and the flexibility, is very important.”
Last year, Victoria and Hannah attended an NCVA school outing at an art museum in Asheville, North Carolina. “We had a great time talking about art with other families,” says Victoria. “They would ask the children how the art spoke to them. It was wonderful to have a bunch of people in one setting, focusing on art.”
It is through art that students can communicate their feelings and creativity. Whether it is through sculpting, acting, storytelling, music, or photography, children have their own way of showing what art means to them.
Lacie: Photographer and Dog Enthusiast
Tonya S.’s daughter, Lacie, recently joined the online public school family of Insight PA Cyber Charter School (ISPA). “I had to pull my girls out of their brick-and-mortar school because of bullying,” Tonya says. “ISPA has truly been a blessing for our family. Lacie is more relaxed, less anxious, and no longer nervous while attending her classes.”
ISPA allows Lacie to spend her time not only focusing on her schoolwork but focusing on her passion of photography. “Art is very important to Lacie. She has always been creative and loved to draw and paint, but as she has gotten older, she loves taking photographs.”
At just 10-years-old, Lacie is already an avid photographer.
“Anytime she can get a camera or a cell phone with access to a camera in her hands, she has taken some great pictures. Online school encourages Lacey to get outside on a nice day. She’s always taking photos of animals, flowers, and pretty much anything in nature that she can. ISPA has helped Lacie excel and succeed in class and out,” Tonya says.
Another benefit of enrolling at ISPA is that Lacie has more time to spend with her new puppy, Remington.
“Lacie has taken on a very motherly roll with Remington. She recently took him to puppy kindergarten and to a children’s hospital. We’re super proud of her and all that she has accomplished so far,” Tonya says.
How to Expose Kids to the Arts
There are many ways that parents can encourage their children to be involved in the arts. Whether it’s taking your child to an art museum, getting outside and taking photos of anything that sparks their interest, going to a concert, reading wordless pictures books that encourage children to think about what they’re seeing, or simply coloring in illustrations, parents can expose kids to different art forms from a young age.
Despite the many benefits of including arts in education, many brick-and-mortar students have less exposure to art during the day due to school time and budget constraints. Students in K12-powered schools, however, have more flexibility and options that allow for arts to be included in their overall education, just as Hannah and Lacie have experienced. And there are many engaging art courses to choose from. Visit K12.com or call 855.456.6254 to learn more about public school at home!
This article was originally published in 2019 and was updated and republished in 2022.