As you may remember, adolescence can be a joyful time, a heartbreaking time, or often a combination of both. What to wear to school, which classes to take, to obey the rules or not – teenagers are bombarded with a never-ending list of some of life’s greatest questions. As a parent, you take on the responsibility of pointing your children in the right direction and helping them see which path leads in the right direction.
children and learning
What Students are Really Missing when Tight Budgets Cut the Arts
It’s no secret that arts programs for children are the go first when budget cuts take place in our school systems. Schools must achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act – and the arts are not a priority, or even included in the assessment standards of most states. But we must pose the question, what are students REALLY missing when we drop the arts from our curriculums?
With the state of the current economy, what’s it going to take to keep our future generation in the game? Current employers aren’t seeking out industry knowledge or a high GPA as much as they used to. In the 21st century, the importance lies with being an independent multi-tasker who can think on her feet, deal with change, and devise multiple solutions to a problem that hasn’t yet happened.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to our 9th grade English class. You’re discussing Great Expectations. The teacher is reading excerpts that correlate with the notes she has on the board. Your assignment is to copy the notes, read the excerpts for homework and study the notes for a quiz the following day. Have we lost you yet?
We all process, store and retrieve information differently. And we all need to find the best way to study and retain new information for our own brain and learning preferences. Especially for all of us right-brainers, who struggle with lecture-dominated learning and heavy word-based testing.
Too often the visual arts are considered a place for unstructured activity and exploration, freedom from discipline or constraint. There is a notion that any structure or expectation in the visual arts will stifle creativity. And yet we would not hold the same standard for any other form of the arts.
As your child moves through her scholastic experience, chances are her favorite class will vary from year to year depending on changing interests. However, depending on her learning style, certain aspects of each class may always appeal to her. If you have a kinesthetic learner, gym class may jump start his engine each day. Your visual learner will favor any class that uses lots of pictures, videos and objects. Your auditory learner will like reading and algebra because she’s comfortable with words and logical processes to reach her answer.
From the materials that make our clothing to the food we eat, consumers and manufacturers alike are making a big shift towards the natural and organic. Therefore, it is not a surprise that a natural approach to learning would work in the classroom as well, when children are allowed to use their natural learning tools – their senses – to process new information. What may be surprising, however, is that learning in a “natural” way significantly improves the rate of retention and our ability to recall information. In other words, kids learn better when they see, touch and do.
Spring is a fun time of year to engage with nature. These education games, activities and crafts are a great way to get your kids excited to get outside and get moving. A learning activity, Find an Animal Mate, teaches kids to imitate an animal and observe their surroundings to find the child who is their matching animal. Learn more about how to do this activity here .
With shortfalls in education budgets, the arts — visual art, music and theater programs — are first to be eliminated from school curriculum. Sadly, they are considered “non-essential” as they cannot be tested in the same way as other subjects. School funding and teacher performance evaluations are based on student test scores.