The importance of arts in your child’s life

Carlsbad Business Journal
We know that involving young children in visual art, music, and creative movement supports the development of fine motor control, visual learning, and a host of important skills. Despite this knowledge, regular arts opportunities tend to diminish as children progress through elementary school.

Viewed as separate from the rest of a school’s curriculum, art is often considered a “nice to have” and is therefore vulnerable to funding cuts. Students who pursue art outside of school usually experience it in an isolated way, such as individual instrument lessons.

This limited exposure is common for students entering our middle school. At this age, students often think the arts are reserved for “talented people” and most assume they lack the necessary talent. Or, they (or their parents) have adopted the label “math/science kid” or “humanities kid.” Many people think of the arts as something practiced on the side.

At Pacific Ridge, we believe arts education is essential and consider it part of our core curriculum.

The benefits of arts education are powerful. Visual and performing arts are perfect for cultivating a growth mindset, the empowering view that abilities aren’t fixed and can be developed through effort. Creative problem-solving, communication, and collaboration – key career skills – are fostered.

One of the most important benefits of arts education is how it broadens the way we view the world and approach challenges. CEOs often state that they value employees who bring creativity to the job. Rather than specific creative abilities, it is this mindset that sets employees apart.

Of course, practicing and appreciating the arts are also important sources personal happiness throughout our lives.

For all these reasons, at Pacific Ridge we immerse our middle schoolers in multiple art forms – at least three or four through grade 8 – and provide opportunities for students to apply the arts to “real-world” multi-disciplinary projects. Students in both middle and high school gain confidence from our arts program and realize that talent can be cultivated, and art can be experienced in all aspects of life.

Parents sometimes ask me how to involve their children in the arts. Here are some thoughts.
  1. Start young. Beginning to learn before age 6-7 is developmentally optimal.
  2. Be social. Children are more likely to enjoy art when experienced with others.
  3. Allow sampling. Let your child explore different disciplines to find one that captivates them.
  4. Think broadly. There are many forms of artistic expression, including creative writing and poetry.
  5. Promote it. Be a voice supporting arts education in your child’s school.
  6. Live it. Make art part of your family’s everyday life. Sing or play instruments together; go to museums and art festivals; and attend dance, music, and theater performances.
The arts provide young people with a way to express thoughts, feelings, and hopes. Art connects them to their own culture and the wider world. As mentioned, it provides lifelong personal and career benefits. Simply put, art matters.

To see the story in the Carlsbad Business Journal, check out page 10 HERE
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