I recently attended a meeting of the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club. This is a great group, as one would expect when the organization is about being optimistic, helping others and improving their lives. It’s like being at Disney World, where they hire happy people, because their vision is “to make people happy”.
This particular group of Optimists meets once a week at 7am, enabling many educators and business leaders to attend before their workday begins. It’s an excellent strategy that’s yielding impressive results. I was delighted to meet and talk to several area art teachers after my presentation on learning styles and ways to help children find increased success in the classroom. They are a passionate group and have long known that art is essential for children, even while seeing instruction hours and teaching staff dwindle over time. In many districts across the country, administrators are forced to make cuts in art programs because education continues to be underfunded while legislation requires more time be spent on student testing.
There is however, a grave misunderstanding at the root of all of this. Art, often seen as a fun activity, a reward, and an end of week treat, is in fact essential to many of our learners. Participation in art and music actually helps these kids learn better. It is what helps them develop literacy, math and science skills. Along with increased academic abilities, the arts help students learn to think outside the box, find multiple solutions to a problem, work collaboratively and so much more.
Like art teachers across the country, I hope we can raise awareness and reconsider the role the arts play in developing literacy skills and find ways to include them as an essential component of every child’s education.
What is your child’s learning style? There are three basic learning styles; visual, tactile, and auditory. Take the test and get immediate results: Is your child a visual learner?