Why Arts Education is Important in School

In every child is artistic ability—the potential for creative brilliance, even! And this creative potential can take them far beyond their arts education. When nurtured, it can build skills and knowledge that will help them through school and their career and provide a means for expression and connection with others. That’s why arts education is such an important component in a child’s academic journey.

And parents largely agree. According to a survey by Americans for the Arts, 88% of the American public agreed that the arts are part of a well-rounded education in grades K-12, and 83% said that arts are important outside of the classroom and in the community. So, while we parents enjoy the artistic masterpieces and performances our children take part in at school, here are some of the ways your child can benefit from art education at any age.

Develop Fine Motor Skills

As children grip their crayons or markers and carefully focus on coloring within the lines of their drawing, they’re working to strengthen the muscles in their fingers and improve their hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and precision. Their scribbles and coloring help prepare them for learning to write—making art a fun way to develop fine motor skills.

Boost Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Problem-Solving Skills

When exposed to museum art, students demonstrate critical thinking through observation, interpretation, and comparison. Exposure to the arts encourages them to think outside the box and flex their own creativity. These two skills combined—being able to think critically about a situation and come up with creative solutions—help build essential problem-solving skills that will serve them throughout school and any career.

Build Social-Emotional Skills

Studies show that participation in the arts contributes to the development of social skills and emotional regulation and encourages positive behaviors such as sharing, caring for others, helping, and showing empathy. In fact, one study showed that music-based activities, including parents singing to their children regularly, boost social skills and positive behaviors. Another study uncovered that participation in the arts—whether viewing or creating—leads to higher levels of social tolerance and contributes to the health of society.

Improve Expression and Communication

All forms of art communicate a message and express emotion. And depending on the viewer, the meaning may be different. What’s incredible about art is that it provides a method for communication in a non-traditional way. It provides an outlet for expression. It encourages conversation and collaboration. And students can use the arts as a safe space for self-expression. 

Increase Focus and Patience

Whether your child is performing a dance, delivering a monologue, playing the violin, or creating a sculpture, their work requires concentration and patience. They learn to focus, block out distractions, and pay attention to details.

Additionally, students enrolled in arts education have a reduced number of disciplinary infractions, improved writing achievements, increased college aspirations, and more academic engagement. Quite honestly, the positives that result from arts education reach far beyond creative and artistic skills.

Advanced Learners and the Arts

According to the National Association for Gifted Learners, arts education is particularly beneficial to gifted and advanced learners when integrated into an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students can make meaningful connections across different subject areas, which can lead to greater understanding and expression of complex concepts. By building their critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills through arts education, students are also preparing for courses and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

How to Engage in the Arts Outside of School

Despite the incredible benefits of arts education, we all know that these programs are not always prioritized when it comes to school funding. But that doesn’t mean your child has to miss out on exposure to the arts. Here are some ways you can encourage your child to engage in the arts outside of the classroom:

  • Visit a local art museum
  • Explore an art museum through a virtual tour (Try the Louvre or The National Gallery)
  • Watch a musical or play live or from home
  • Audition for a role in a local community theater
  • Take up a musical instrument (You can keep the cost down by looking for a used instrument and watching lessons on YouTube)
  • Watch live musical performances in your town (My kids love to pack a lunch and watch live music in our downtown area)
  • Work on some fun crafts together or make clay for sculpting
  • Get inspired by the outdoors—take a sketch pad to a favorite outside spot and start drawing
  • Submit original creations to an art competition

If your child loves art, and their school doesn’t offer courses that allow their creativity to flourish, you have options. At online schools, like those powered by K12, students learn from dedicated art teachers who help them explore their artistic side in a flexible learning environment. They’ll delve into digital design, sculpting, photography, fashion, culinary arts, and fonts while also learning the principles and history of art. To learn more, go to K12.com.

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