Art is getting squeezed out of the curriculum. Yet art shouldn’t be an afterthought in our children’s education, but integrated into every subject to inspire students’ creativity, emotion, and higher-level thinking.
Evan-Moor Educational Publishers was founded by two teachers who were passionate about incorporating art into the curriculum. The first book ever published by Evan-Moor, in 1970, Art Moves the Basics Along, incorporated basic drawing activities into lessons to motivate children to learn. We still believe that art is an important component of today’s curriculum!
Here are three top reasons to preserve art lessons in schools and suggestions for integrating art activities to inspire children to learn:
Why We Should Keep Art Lessons in Schools
- The arts are an important component of learning and brain development in young students. Art lessons develop students’ essential thinking tools, such as pattern recognition and symbolic and abstract representations, while supporting core content areas.
- Art influences all areas of the curriculum. The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth Study revealed that access to arts in education improves children’s psychological, social, and academic outcomes, especially for low-income students.
- Art can improve students’ motivation, concentration, and collaboration with peers and build lasting connections between students and their community. Integrate the Arts, Deepen the Learning demonstrates how one school developed their students’ critical thinking and collaboration skills through thoughtful integration of the arts into their curriculum. Student engagement increased significantly within the school with the infusion of art-related lessons and content.
Ways to Integrate Art into Your Curriculum
Even if your school does not have an art instructor, you can still find simple ways of incorporating art into your busy school day. By taking the time to complete an art project, you can encourage creative thinking and expression within your classroom.
For example, combine your math lesson on repeating patterns and geometry with an art lesson on tessellations. (A tessellation is a repeating pattern of geometric shapes.) Download your free tessellations art activity here (from How to Teach Art to Children). This art lesson includes a brief study of the famous artist M.C. Escher and additional literature references about his work.
If you are looking for simple, age-appropriate art activities, How to Teach Art to Children and ArtWorks for Kids are great options with hundreds of art project ideas. These resources include step-by-step instructions, teach the elements of art, and include accompanying literature describing the famous artists who used these techniques.
How do you incorporate art into your lessons? Please share.
Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.