Integrate Science and Arts Process Skills in the Early Childhood Curriculum
How can early childhood teachers help children think creatively, discover new possibilities, and connect their ideas? Integrate science and the arts in the curriculum!
“The greatest scientists are also artists as well.” –Albert Einstein
Art and science are intrinsically linked—the essence of both fields is discovery. Artists and scientists function systematically and creatively. Their knowledge, understanding, and outcomes are explored in hands-on studios or high-tech labs. In classrooms for all ages, integrating science and the visual arts offer children the latitude to think, discover, and make connections (Alberts, 2011).
• Young children are also natural artists (Althouse, Johnson, & Mitchell, 2003). Most are delighted to participate in open-ended art activities, dramatic play, singing, and dancing. Young children paint, sculpt, sing, or dance in their own unique ways. They want to be involved in the visual and performing arts, to try new things, and to experiment with the familiar (Pinciotti, 2001). For young children, the process in science and art is much more important than whatever product may result (Stivers & Schudel, 2008). The fundamental science process skills for early childhood are to • • • • • observe, communicate, compare, measure, and organize (Sarquis, 2009).
Art and science are intrinsically linked.
Scientists and artists typically observe life from somewhat different perspectives: A scientist generally takes things apart for study before bringing them together in solutions, while a visual artist interprets beauty and creatively combines media to communicate a sense of aesthetics to others. Linking science and art explorations makes sense in early childhood education for a number of reasons. • Young children have a natural curiosity.
This talk concerning The Importance of Arts in Education was delivered at Westminster College on March 23, 2009. My personal favorite part of the talk was revealing the percentage of GNP the arts represent---a real sabot for that certain kind of philistine social (and economic) conservative who wants to crush arts funding in schools. For that individual, here's an economic argument that almost sounds like an artifact of some capitalist Utopia. Considering we don't produce much in the U.S. anymore---the legacy of Bretton-Woods---at least we still export the arts.
IMPORTANCE of ART EDUCATION
Have you ever thought why we send children to school? Why is education necessary? Firstly, schools provide children with cultural values that vary in every culture and that are necessary to become a good citizen. Also, schools upskill children and prepare them for a job related to their areas of interest. Finally, perhaps the most important function of schools is to teach children how to be better human beings. One of the important parts of education is art including music, drama, dance, and painting. Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium report (2008) maintains that there is “tight correlation” between arts training and improvements in cognition, attention, and learning (2008, pp.1-4). It also supports that an interest in a performing art enables to develop a high state of motivation that creates sustained attention needed to develop performance. Thus, it is essential that art classes be in the school system. First of all, art education encourages academic achievement because they help children understand other subjects much more clearly. Students taking any art lessons have more tendency to learn other disciplines such as numerical lessons, language, and social sciences. One of the reasons is that music lessons improve cognitive performance. According to Sousa (2006), even passive listening to certain music affects the parts of the brain functioning in memory recall and visual imaginary (2006, pp.1-2). For example, listening to Mozart promotes a variety of spatial and temporal reasoning task (Sousa, 2006, p.2) By means of those influences; background music in the classroom facilitates students to maintain focusing while engaging in specific learning tasks. Second of the reasons is that music lessons improve numerical skills. Mathematics is most closely connected to music. Counting is important to music because one is supposed to count rests and beats. Moreover, a musician uses geometry to remember the appropriate finger positions.
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Where have the arts in education gone? Over the past several years we’ve all seen the trend of schools cutting the arts from their curriculum. Music, art, theater—gone for so many.
There’s no doubt that the arts are fun for kids. Diving into those finger paints and making a beautiful picture to hang on the fridge is awesome. Acting in a play is exhilarating. But the arts also help kids develop on many fundamental levels.
Here are the top 10 ways that the arts help kids learn and grow:
1.Creativity. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the arts allow kids to express themselves better than math or science. As the Washington Post says, In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.
2. Improved Academic Performance. The arts don’t just develop a child’s creativity—the skills they learn because of them spill over into academic achievement. PBS says, A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
3.Motor Skills. This applies mostly to younger kids who do art or play an instrument. Simple things like holding a paintbrush and scribbling with a crayon are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills. According to the National Institutes of Health. developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors.
4.Confidence. While mastering a subject certainly builds a student’s confidence, there is something special about participating in the arts. Getting up on a stage and singing gives kids a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.
5.Visual Learning. Especially for young kids, drawing, painting, and sculpting in art class help develop visual-spatial skills. Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University says, Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.
6. Decision Making. The arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. How do I express this feeling through my dance? How should I play this character? Learning how to make choices and decisions will certainly carry over into their education and other parts of life—as this is certainly a valuable skill in adulthood.
7. Perseverance. I know from personal experience that the arts can be challenging. When I was trying to learn and master the clarinet, there were many times when I became so frustrated that I wanted to quit. But I didn’t. After practicing hard, I learned that hard work and perseverance pay off. This mindset will certainly matter as they grow—especially during their career where they will likely be asked to continually develop new skills and work through difficult projects.
8. Focus. As you persevere through painting or singing or learning a part in a play, focus is imperative. And certainly focus is vital for studying and learning in class as well as doing a job later in life.
9. Collaboration. Many of the arts such as band, choir, and theater require kids to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise to achieve their common goal. Kids learn that their contribution to the group is integral to its success—even if they don’t have the solo or lead role.
10. Accountability. Just like collaboration, kids in the arts learn that they are accountable for their contributions to the group. If they drop the ball or mess up, they realize that it’s important to take responsibility for what they did. Mistakes are a part of life, and learning to accept them, fix them, and move on will serve kids well as they grow older.
Is your student looking to become more involved in the arts? Not only do K12 online public schools offer their students art and music courses, K12 has individual art classes for purchase. For more information on K12 and our programs that encourage student involvement in the arts, you can contact our enrollment team at (877) 895-1754 or elect to receive a free info kit .Related Topics
A rts education has always been a contested area. Many arts educators have defended the arts in the school curriculum by emphasising their role in students’ moral and individual development. For example, EB Feldman, defending arts education in the US during the 1980s, argued that it should not be about creating artists but about something broader. He suggests arts education can imbue in young people a sense of the satisfaction that comes from working to create something, the ability to use and understand language effectively, and a profound sense of ‘the values that permit civilised life to go on’.
Like Elliot Eisner and other proponents of arts education on both sides of the Atlantic writing in the 1980s and 1990s, Feldman argues cogently, showing a deep knowledge of art and history and an even deeper commitment to humanist principles. Now, more often than not, arts education is framed instrumentally. It is defended as a means of supporting the rest of the school curriculum (to make it more interesting), a means to enhance students’ employability, and a means of developing a good environmentally aware, health-conscious citizen.
The arts have a complex relationship with society, but arts lovers need to make a case for arts education that doesn’t harness it to contemporary moral, civic, social or economic priorities. And we shouldn’t resort to implying that without it people are likely to be stupid or more inclined to crime and immoral behaviour, or even that it makes people more employable. The Gradgrind mentality of relying on ‘facts’ - that is, ‘evidence’ that arts do good - allows little space for an intellectual consideration of the complexities of arts-based experiences.
Furthermore, arguments for arts or cultural education, made by vociferous advocates in the UK cultural sector, too often rely on dubious ‘brain science’ as supposed evidence that the arts are good for us. Research claiming to show evidence of the benefits of the arts does not stand up to scrutiny, as recognised by a recent OECD report, Art for Art’s Sake?. Even El Sistema, the Venezuelan music-education programme, which takes impoverished young people and gives them a chance to perform music in public, shows the importance of clear focus, high motivation, collaborative effort and a lot of hard work, rather than music itself. Indeed, young people could achieve something similar by playing for a football team. The fact that people are so in awe of El Sistema says more about the low expectations of young people’s abilities than about the importance of the arts to society.
The arts and learning
The arts are central to the idea of education being about inculcating a love of learning, of acquiring knowledge. It is no accident that the arts are traditionally connected with the idea of being educated. Hence an educated person is assumed to be interested in the arts.
Twentieth-century German philosopher Ernst Cassirer explained the importance of the arts as follows: ‘Science gives us order in thoughts, morality gives us order in actions; art gives us order in the apprehension of visible, tangible and audible appearances.’ A good education includes a good arts education, introducing children and young people to great literature (novels, poetry and short stories, plays), dance, visual arts, music and film. How a school prioritises the arts may be up for debate and depend on the specialist teachers schools have access to. But a school should still be committed to introducing children to the best there is in as many art forms as possible.
In the 1980s, arts educators in the US and the UK developed ‘discipline-based arts education’ (DBAE) as a way of clarifying what should be included in an arts curriculum. Rejecting the previous emphasis on ‘self-expression’ and child-centred learning, advocates of DBAE outlined four integrated areas of study around skills and making, historical knowledge, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement, with the aim of helping students to learn to think like artists and art critics.
A visual-arts curriculum might seek, therefore, to develop skills in, and experience of, a range of art techniques and processes using line, colour, texture and form. These are not just technical skills, but skills in seeing and expression from an aesthetic perspective. For this reason, DBAE also develops in students a historical and cultural perspective in a variety of visual art forms, including painting, printing and sculpture; it explores ideas about what makes arts aesthetically pleasing or satisfying; and it develops capacity for judging and explaining judgements, as well as being able to participate in broader philosophical conversations about, for example, what constitutes art and whether beauty matters.Must-reads from the past week
Viewing education as a useful social-engineering mechanism has undermined its substantive and historic role
DBAE is still, formally, the basis for arts in the English national curriculum. But the instrumentalisation of education in the UK, making it more accountable to the needs of the economy and contemporary socio-political agendas, has taken its toll on arts education. The above-mentioned OECD report exemplifies this tendency: it frames arts education in terms of ‘skills critical for innovation: critical and creative thinking, motivation, self-confidence, and ability to communicate and co-operate effectively’.
Although we apparently live in a knowledge-based society, knowledge in the curriculum - particularly the arts curriculum - has been displaced by an emphasis on creativity. At the same time, the arts have been elided with creativity as a catch-all concept, a means to a successful and happy life. The arts now provide us with problem-solving skills, innovative mindsets, communicative attitudes and inspiration. Conceived thus, the arts have become the butt of banalities about everyday life, cohesive communities, a good society and a buoyant economy.
Everyday creativity, however, is very different to artistic creativity. The conflation of the two in discussions about democratising the arts and promoting arts education has led to a real devaluing of the arts, artistic knowledge and skill. Creativity arises from a complex synthesis of abstract knowledge, concrete knowhow of specific skills and processes, and inner drive; to downplay the importance of knowledge and knowhow in the creative process can only diminish it.
The old Masters?
So perhaps it is worth thinking more deeply about arts education and why it is a necessary part of a good education. W H Auden’s poem, ‘Musée des Beaux Artes’ comes to mind:
‘About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along…’
I studied this poem at school and it has always remained in my ear as a kind of rueful wisdom. The arts are part of the world we live in. Shakespeare’s language is part of our idiom, offering expression for every feeling and emotion, from despair to love. Great buildings make us wonder at human ingenuity and ambition. Paintings from Rembrandt’s self portraits to Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ have become popular and recognisable expressions of complex emotions, from the experience of aging to the horrors of war to the pleasure we take in the natural world. Novelists from Austen to Tolstoy to Orwell are frequently drawn on as sources of insights about the individual in changing societies.
Great works of art become a common language through which we perceive and deal with our world. You don’t need to have read Auden’s poems or seen Shakespeare’s plays, much less studied them, to be part of the world in which they resonate. Insights about our existence - the human condition - formulated by artists, enter our lives through many different channels and often shape the processes through which we find meaning in our lives.
However, at the very least, a good education provides young people with an appreciation of the importance of the arts: a sense of why they matter, where they come from, how they fit together, why they can be sources of such greater pleasure and insight, and what additional insights they can yield if you do study them. As spiked regular Frank Furedi has pointed out in his book, Wasted: Why Education isn’t Educating. the teacher’s role is to pass on the wisdom of generations, ‘to teach children about the world as it is’. He writes: ‘It is impossible to engage with the future unless people draw on the insights and knowledge gained through centuries of human experience. Individuals gain an understanding of themselves through familiarity with the unfolding of the human world.’
Similarly, Hannah Arendt described education as an essentially conservative process. It gives children a foundational knowledge of what the world is like so they can find their feet in it. Education should not be about instructing children in the art of living. Ideally, formal education should be a period of separation from the pressures and demands of daily life. The content of education should be (as Matthew Arnold expressed it nearly 200 years ago) the best that has been thought and said in the world - because otherwise it degenerates into moral emotional rhetoric, an attempt to manipulate children who do not have the maturity to resist.
Viewing education as a useful social-engineering mechanism, to cope with contemporary social problems such as unemployment, social disaffection and fragmented communities, has undermined its substantive and historic role. For anyone keen to retrieve education as a process of teaching children, conveying a love of learning, rather than trying to manipulate them, a good arts education is a perfect place to start.
The importance of arts education in the school curriculum is that it can begin to introduce students to another way of understanding themselves and the world, and different ways of expressing thoughts, experiences and feelings that are not easily expressed in everyday symbols and signs. A good arts education is built on and reflects recognition of the specific and unique way that the arts shape our thinking and our lives.
As a distinct area of human activity and development, the arts provide forms of symbolic representation that are close to language, but not identical with it. The complex and contradictory character of some experiences, and our responses to them, are simply beyond the reach of everyday language. As products of intellectual activity, reflecting the many different trajectories our search for meaning can take, the arts make internal experiences external.
The richness of art lies in its indefinite character, which allows inexhaustible possibilities of expression and interpretation. The arts do not deal with question of ‘what is it for?’ or ‘why does it exist?’. Rather they externalise our inner lives in sensuous form. As the philosopher Susanne Langer suggested: ‘Art is the objectification of feeling, and in developing our intuition, teaching eye and ear to perceive expressive form, it makes form expressive for us wherever we confront it, in actuality as well as in art.’
Arts and the public
Perhaps the greatest failure of contemporary arts education is its inability to equip young people with knowledge, understanding and knowhow to enable them to engage fully in critical public debate about the arts. Democratisation of the arts – making them accessible to everyone, engendering real public engagement – requires an arts education that properly introduces young people to a range of art forms (and gives them a sense that there are others to explore).
Most students who study the arts will not become artists; those who do will specialise in one artform. So the purpose of a good arts education must primarily be to develop the ability to judge, ideally within a range of forms. Art, once it leaves the studio or the rehearsal room, no longer belongs to the artist and becomes subject to the judgement of others. If we really want to democratise the arts, we need to give young people enough knowledge to enter into an intelligent debate about what is good and what is not.
Ultimately the justification for arts education lies in promoting the love of learning, the desire to plumb the inexhaustible depths of artistic creation, and hence a world in which the arts can thrive. I can’t put it better than Virginia Woolf, whose concept of the ‘common reader’ can be stretched to the ‘common arts lover’:
‘If… to read a book as it should be read calls for the rarest qualities of imagination, insight, and judgment, you may perhaps conclude that literature is a very complex art and that it is unlikely that we shall be able, even after a lifetime of reading, to make any valuable contribution to its criticism. We must remain readers; we shall not put on the further glory that belongs to those rare beings who are also critics. But still we have our responsibilities as readers and even our importance. The standards we raise and the judgments we pass steal into the air and become part of the atmosphere which writers breathe as they work. An influence is created which tells upon them even if it never finds its way into print…. If behind the erratic gunfire of the press the author felt that there was another kind of criticism, the opinion of people reading for the love of reading, slowly and unprofessionally, and judging with great sympathy and yet with great severity, might this not improve the quality of his work? And if by our means books were to become stronger, richer, and more varied, that would be an end worth reaching.’
Wendy Earle is impacts and knowledge exchange manager, Birkbeck, University of London and the convenor of Institute of Ideas Arts and Society Forum .
For permission to republish spiked articles, please contact Viv Regan .
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Autor: manalost7 • February 19, 2012 • Essay • 420 Words (2 Pages) • 1,365 Views
We all know the importance of education in our daily lives. While elementary or primary education is more important for us now than never before, drawing a line between primary education and higher education is no less important either. According to me, primary education is a necessity rather than a luxury; on the other hand, higher education is useful only when students pursue it with personal interest, zeal and relentless vigor. Only those people with personal interest will be able to cope up with intricacies and nuances of higher education. Moreover, establishing modern educational facilities for higher studies is a costly affair for the government. Hence it is imperative for universities to be more vigilant while admitting students, and only those who meet or surpass their admission criteria should be admitted.
We can take a horse to water but can’t make it drink. It is equally useless to give an admission to a student who is not interested in higher education. Although not interested, some students may join universities because of the pressure from their family and relatives In addition, these uninterested students, may become a thorn in the flesh of those who are not only curious but also excited about the prospects of higher studies. Stringent admission criteria help universities authorities to filter these applicants and foster enthusiastic students to continue with their higher education.
Yesterday, I read that it costs about $200000 to establish a university. Federal Government is using tax-payer’s money either to establish new universities or to equip old universities with modern and state of art research facilities. All these huge amounts of tax-payer’s money go in drain, if uninterested students or academically poor students are accepted into the universities.
Our earlier achievements act as a catalyst to our future endeavors. Successfully meeting all the stringent admission criteria and getting an