Why Arts Integration?
The arts afford students the opportunity to study their own culture and those of the world at large. The study of art for its own sake is essential for its contributions to the hearts and souls of the artist and the audience. Music and all the other arts encourage the kind of creative and critical thinking that allows children to develop self-efficacy and success in other academic disciplines.
At CCSA, we believe in the added benefits of Arts Integration--instruction that integrates content and skills from the arts - dance, music, theatre and the visual arts - with other core subjects. Arts integration takes place when there is a seamless blending of content and skills between an art form and a co-curricular subject. A rich array of arts skills and intellectual processes provide multiple entry points for students linking to content in other subject areas. Similarly, arts instruction is deepened through the integration of content from the other subject areas.
Arts integration is highly effective in engaging and motivating students. It supports academic achievement and improved social behavior of students while enhancing school climate and parental involvement. The arts provide students multiple modes for demonstrating learning and competency. Indeed, learning and innovation skills are increasingly being recognized as the skills that separate students prepared for a rapidly changing world, and those who are not.
In addition, we use the arts as a learning methodology, not only because they engage and motivate children, but because they provide the most effective strategies for nurturing creativity, imagination and innovation and provide opportunity for divergent thinking – the ability to see multiple ways to interpret or solve a problem. A new education paradigm, based on current research on how children learn, promotes creativity, innovation, critical thinking, communication and collaboration as essential learning skills.
These tangible benefits of arts education are outlined in a recent report presented in May 2011 by President Obama’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. According to the report entitled, “Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools” – high quality arts education in one or more of the following categories will provide instrumental and long-lasting outcomes in:
- Student achievement, typically as represented by reading and mathematics performance on high stakes tests, including transfer of skills learning from the arts to learning in other academic areas—for example, the spatial-temporal reasoning skills developed by music instruction;
- Student motivation and engagement, including improved attendance, persistence, focused attention, heightened educational aspirations, and intellectual risk taking;
- Development of habits of mind including problem solving, critical and creative thinking, dealing with ambiguity and complexity, integration of multiple skill sets, and working with others; and
- Development of social competencies, including collaboration and team work skills, social tolerance, and self-confidence.
Through arts integration we believe the imaginations and creative capacities of teachers and students are nurtured and their aspirations are afforded many avenues for realization and recognition—a truly transformative means of learning.
Chester Charter School
for the Arts
200 Commerce Drive
Aston, PA 19014