Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
MAKE GOOD ART.
– Neil Gaiman
Celebration for the Arts
Heritage Elementary School in Glendale is starting off the New Year with a tribute to the arts. On Thursday, January 29, join us for a special evening including dinner and an art showcase featuring art from every student. An art auction will feature original art pieces donated by our staff and junior high students, with all proceeds benefitting the school’s Art Department. There will also be awards presented, such as Best in Show and others. Additionally, that evening will feature the talent show, with a special performance from Mr. Mengel’s band.
The event begins with dinner at 6 p.m. The talent show will follow and start promptly at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are currently available in the front office for $5; at the door, tickets will be $8.
For those unable to make the gala, there will be a talent show assembly the next day at 9 a.m.
Though there is a heavy focus in schools today on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum, the importance of art is still undeniable. Children exposed to art in educational and home settings show advances in physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development. Some of these include development and refinement of fine motor skills, inventiveness, decision-making, problem-solving, and inventive imagination building. The benefits will follow them through childhood and into adulthood where their increased focus, dedication, and accountability will help them to be prized members of the community. Art also benefits visual and kinesthetic learners, while increasing a child’s cultural awareness; many sources even site art instruction, both school- and home-based, as helping improve academic performance.
Encouraging the Arts at Home
Heritage’s Art Department strives to expose students to a variety of inspiring mediums, techniques, and artistic opportunities. This is something that can also be reinforced at home. While there are many ways to encourage and expose your children to art, here are some ways to incorporate the creative arts at home:
- When reading, bring some drama into it. This can be as simple as differentiating voices with dialogue or being markedly dramatic in the entire reading experience. You can go a step further and act scenes out. Perhaps encourage your child to take a favorite scene and turn it into a play that the whole family can act out.
- Old Halloween costumes can make for a well-stocked costume collection that can make home theatrics much more immersive.
- Stocking a home “art studio” is a great way to get kids creating. The key here is variety in both tools and materials. It allows a child choices—exposing them to new mediums, tools, and techniques can help them think about art and how to capture what they want to express.
- Music holds a special appeal for children of all ages. Expanding your music repertoire will make it easier to venture into unknown musical territory with your child. Perhaps choose a different radio station every few days or borrow some new music from the library. If you listen to music on a computer or other device, try a new channel or playlist at random.
- Also, don’t be afraid to dance with your child. Let it be less about the right steps and more about moving and having fun together. Singing can be the same way. Perform a duet with your child while playing Rock Band or singing karaoke, sing along to the radio together, or teach them your favorite songs or some silly camp songs, like Found a Peanut or The Song that Never Ends.
- Keep an eye out for art programs in the community. These can be great exposure.
- Visit local museums and spend some time in new exhibits talking about art, or take a tour to learn more about different art movements, genres, and schools.
- Keep writing utensils around and easy to reach. Having paper, pens, pencils, and notebooks handy is a great way to encourage kids to write. Take them to the library and encourage them to branch out and read different genres, including poetry. Poetry can be one of the easiest ways for children to express their thoughts and feelings, especially the more confusing ones.
Here are just a few suggestions that offer valuable insight into this issue:
- Critical Evidence: How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement: A comprehensive and in-depth look at the ways art affects a child’s development across the spectrum of learning and behavior, compiled by the Center for Arts Education in New York
- The Importance of the Creative Arts for Children and Teens: An article archived by the Child Development Institute focusing on the beneficial nature of the arts and how art serves children in the broad sense
- Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts: A Washington Post article with some insights into what can be gained, and the future usefulness of these skills