Art is understood as any activity or product made with an aesthetic and communicative purpose, through which ideas, emotions or a vision of the world are expressed through language, music, dance and painting.
During the first years of life, in a natural way, children play, sing, dance and draw. These activities are essential for the development of the sensory, motor, cognitive, emotional and, in short, cerebral system, which allows children to learn how to learn.
The presence of art in education, through art education, contributes to the integral and full development of children and young people. It is characterized by enriching and making a great cognitive contribution to the development of students’ skills and abilities, such as entrepreneurship, cultural diversity, innovation, creativity and curiosity.
The artistic activity of the learner awakens their fantasy and imaginative power; it leads to the appreciation of colour and shapes, as well as the formation of personality, self-confidence, respect and tolerance. In other words, for the child, artistic activity is a means of dynamic and unifying development.
Drawing, painting, dance or theatre is a process in which the pupil gathers, interprets and reforms the elements acquired through his or her experience. With this we can know what the child feels, thinks and sees, as the writer David Rollano explains in his book “Plastic and Artistic Education in Infant Education. Development of creativity. Methods and Strategies”.
Benefits of Arts Education
Arts education in schools helps children to know themselves better, express their inner world and capture their imagination and creativity. This education can be enjoyed in different ways such as painting, drama, dance, drawing or singing. In short, an activity that relates to the senses.
All schools, public or private, have art education among their subjects and among their extracurricular activities. And despite the fact that they often pass as secondary subjects, the reality is that these are primordial activities for the development of children, offering numerous benefits in learning. If taught properly, students can achieve important personal, academic and social development.
- Reinforces quality in learning
- Increases the enthusiasm and interest of the students
- The artistic activities increase the perception of the environment and generate in the student a flexibility of thought.
- It generates in the student security and autonomy
- Stimulates cognitive skills and allows the individual to communicate
- It offers the opportunity to explore imagination and the ability to perform better in social settings.
- By promoting teamwork, it generates a better school environment among the students themselves and also with the teacher. It develops tolerance and empathy.
- Arts education helps to activate many parts of the brain.
UNESCO, like many international agencies, is working to ensure that the importance of arts education is recognized. This importance lies in the formation of sensitive, empathetic and creative human beings who develop an important key element of social interaction.
According to psychologist and researcher Howard Gardner, the challenge of arts education is to effectively modulate the values of culture, the means available for education in the arts and the particular developmental profiles of the students to be educated.
Arts education in schools
School is the place where children spend most of their time. A fact that leaves no one indifferent is that for a few years now, arts education has been forgotten by the education system in many schools around the world.
Arts education is necessary, not because it will make children more intelligent, but because it enables them to acquire a series of skills and mental routines that are in harmony with human nature and which, in turn, are essential for learning any school subject. This is useful for all students, so it becomes a great way to deal with diversity in the classroom.
As Eisner said, “The arts teach children that real problems often have more than one possible solution, that it is necessary to analyze tasks from different perspectives, that imagination is a powerful guide in the resolution process, or that there are not always definite rules when they have to make decisions.
The absence of art in the classroom is due to the widespread indifference to artistic activities as part of curriculum development at different levels of education. This may be due to a lack of teacher training, the absence of a cultural policy or the influence of the media.
In short, arts education is essential because it enables pupils to acquire a number of social and emotional skills that are basic to personal development and that make them happier. And that is, after all, true learning, the one that truly prepares them for life. The human brain is a fan of challenges and therefore needs art.
What is certain is that an educational centre is efficient if it is committed to teaching that includes the development of students’ creativity and art. In short, the importance of the presence of art in schools is to create a field of human activity that is characteristic of all cultures over time. Art is the heart of the whole educational system.