Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Teaching Children to Appreciate Art

Teaching Children to Appreciate Art

One of the casualties of the “No Child Left Behind” legislation is the concept of a well-rounded education. A well-rounded education provides young people with the opportunity to find creative outlets and an opportunity to succeed if they are not adept at math and science.  And if they are intellectually gifted, exposure to the arts enhances the life experience. It gives students the chance to communicate with people with different interests and to appreciate that which transcends the written word or an algebraic formula.

Not everyone is wired the same way. Some are adept at sciences. Some love the written word. But there are those that are only able to communicate through the abstract, music, sculpture, painting, or use of one’s hands. Art can be therapeutic.

Just as our education communities recognize there are those students who excel at learning by doing and vocational training, there are those who appreciate and understand the ethereal, the arts such as music, dance, painting, sculpture, woodworking.  Our education system has morphed to a place where these studies have been eliminated as non-essential.

But I believe exposure to the arts feeds the soul. I was fortunate. My parents took my siblings and me to art museums and concerts; my dad played the piano and they played records of show tunes and classical music on the stereo.  We saw plays; they read to us; they took us on vacations to see the great landmarks of our country; they emphasized we did not have to appreciate everything the world had to offer, but they wanted us to know what the world had to offer. Not every child has the good fortune that I did.  But I firmly believe that every child in our public schools should have the opportunity learn about art, historical artifacts, music and dance.  This should not be expendable, but an integral part of every child’s education. Appreciating the arts bring enjoyment to life.  And many art museums are free.  But young people need to know about art to even want to visit a free museum.  Return this valuable facet of a well-rounded education to our schools.

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