There is always a lot of emphasis on Maths, Science and English subjects in schools, so it’s important that children are given the opportunity to engage in the arts, especially if they find more academic subjects difficult. Aside from giving children a chance to relax and express themselves doing something they enjoy, participating in artistic activities can equip them with a number of valuable life skills. Here an independent school in the Southwest explores some of the important benefits children get from taking part in the arts in school.
Creativity and imagination
Artistic activities allow children to explore their creativity and imagination, which helps broaden their perspective on the world around them while facilitating self-expression. They get the chance to plan what they’re going to create and then think about how they’re going to bring the vision that’s in their head to life. This ability to think both creatively and critically benefits children later in life when they’re able to approach problems from different angles instead of being limited in their thinking. Creative skills can also come in handy when it comes to making decisions about possible career options as imaginative children are able to think outside the box.
Participating in the arts enhances a number of important cognitive skills, like the ability to concentrate and focus on one thing for an extended period of time. It may also help with memory and the ability to recall information, while certain artistic activities like playing a musical instrument help with cognitive functions like logic and reasoning.
Depending on the activity, the arts can also help improve children’s physical skills, often in conjunction with their cognitive skills, such as hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness; for example, taking part in drama will teach children about moving around in a particular space and positional awareness, and dancing will enhance their gross motor skills. Of course, certain artistic activities can also keep children fit and healthy.
Through engaging with the arts children get the opportunity to explore their abilities and find out what they’re capable of, which they might not otherwise discover. Playing a particular role within a group and working toward a shared goal with others boosts children’s self-esteem, as does receiving recognition and praise from peers, teachers and their parents, such as when putting on a performance. This increased self-esteem improves children’s overall confidence, which can have a positive effect on other areas of their life, including on more academic study.
Often when taking part in arts activities children work as part of a group where each team member plays a specific part to help everyone achieve a common goal. Working with others in this way enhances children’s communication and interpersonal skills as they learn to express themselves while listening to and considering the needs of others. They get the opportunity to step outside of their normal friendship group and interact with different children they might not talk to otherwise, so it’s a great chance for them to develop their social skills.
Good mental health
Getting the opportunity to express themselves in a different way, particularly for children who find school difficult, helps ensure good mental health. In addition, the arts can provide a healthy outlet for difficult or uncomfortable emotions, such as anger and frustration. Children also see that there is more than one way to complete an art project, which broadens their viewpoint and expands their thinking. It also allows them to see that life is not black and white, and that there are many shades of grey and much is open to interpretation.
As you can see, engaging with the arts offers many advantages for children so it’s an important part of their school-based learning.