The goal of any education is to empower our children for future success – which generally means prepare them for gainful employment. Any field of education is in itself meaningless if our children do not know how to apply what they learn in the real world. And if we’re truthful to ourselves, we know that most of what we use in the real world we learn in the real world. Therefore, to fully prepare our children, we need to arm them for life-long learning.
That’s why arts education is so vital in preparing our children for success. Arts nurture both hemisphere of the brain. Arts teach us new ways of thinking. Arts teach collaboration and teamwork. Arts give our children the fundamental skills needed for a lifetime of learning and to participate in society.
This is the reasons why “arts integration” is getting more attention on a national level. It is why government organizations like the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts are encouraging art and science collaboration to develop new courses, and perhaps even new curricula. Our existing educational mix needs to be reexamined to ensure that all disciplines are integrated and that it’s fostering the skills needed for the new, knowledge-based global economy.
However, this is going to be a long process. And our children cannot wait. As schools reexamine their curriculums, programs such as Arts to Grow provide the much needed gap in arts education. On the surface, our students are learning acting, music, drawing, etc., but underneath the surface, our students are learning confidence, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and more. These are skills that will empower them to face the real world and to continue to learn well beyond their K-12 years.