Why the Arts are an essential Part of a STEAM Curriculum ?
Traditionally, when speaking of a STEM/STEAM education, many people only discuss the main pillars of the curriculum: science, technology, engineering, and math. However, there has been a push in recent years to transition STEM to STEAM - adding to the acronym an “A” to represent the arts.
While STEM education has always incorporated arts into the curriculum, the push to change the acronym highlights the importance that arts education has on a child’s personal and academic development. Research has increasingly emphasized the benefits of an arts education - below, we summarize some of the primary benefits that art instruction has on students in STEAM schools.
Why are the arts important ?
When arts education is mentioned, most people think of painting, drawing, or playing an instrument, but arts instruction is about much more than just expressive arts. It also includes subjects like history, social studies, and language arts, all of which are essential facets of a STEAM education. Together, a comprehensive arts education program develops critical skills of communication, innovation, and creativity.
Expressive arts, which can come in many forms including sculpture, painting, and music, are also an important component to academic success and achievement of higher learning skills.
The importance of the arts to a STEAM education
Art classes aren’t just a way for children to be creative, they are also integral to developing students’ higher learning skills. A program that incorporates the arts into the curriculum has been proven to increase creativity, improve academic performance, increase motor skills, enhance visual learning, and boost higher decision-making skills.
- Increase creativity
By allowing children to explore their expressive side through the arts, they are able to expand their creative thinking skills, which are necessary to solve complex engineering, science, and math problems. These creative thinking skills teach your child to think outside of the box and to explore different, non-traditional paths to a solution.
- Improve academic performance
According to a report by American for the Arts, children who engage in arts, are four times more likely to excel in academic achievement when compared to those children who don’t.
Other sources confirm the overarching impact of the arts. At the 2009 Johns Hopkins University (« Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts, and the Brain »), researchers reported that children showed more motivation, paid closer attention and more easily remembered what they had learned when the arts were integrated into the curriculum.
Cognitively, emotionally and culturally, the arts can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing. It’s clear that arts education adds value to students on more levels than simply increased academic performance.