“Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.”
― Richard Louv,
Long before we could write our own history with letters and words, paragraphs and pages, humans created art. Communication and self-expression are desires for all humans, no matter their age, gender, or culture, and art is the wide and varied medium that meets this need. We are driven to connect with others and to express thoughts, emotions, and ideas; the elementary child of today is no different. For the elementary child, it is time to explore as many creative forms as possible.
There is no shortage of research suggesting that children involved in the arts show gains in verbal skills, motivation, concentration, confidence and team work. As a nation, parents have expressed their goals for their children: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement and equitable opportunity. The arts enhance them all.
Art in the Classroom
In the Journey classroom, the arts are seamlessly woven into all subject areas. Children studying geometry might design symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns with the metal inset shapes. Children studying ethics might create a collage of all they hold dear. Others studying geography might draw maps with keys showing the economic importance of various crops and exports. Others studying photosynthesis might write a play and act out the chemical exchange. While still others, studying a culture, might write their own music, performing it for the class.
Children will also receive direct instruction in voice and violin. As a group, children sing multiple times each day, songs that are both culturally significant and academically stimulating. In addition, each child will receive instruction on the violin to enhance ear training, rhythmic understanding, pitch and beginning note reading. In violin and voice, children are encouraged to compose their own music and incorporate it into their daily studies.
Art in Nature
As the children connect daily with the natural world, it is inevitable that they will begin to see the artistic beauty that is all around us. As they deepen their personal relationship with our environment, they will hear the music in the grasses and see the poetry on the wind. Some children might choose to create a college of found objects while others sculpt a pot out of clay or mud. Some children will weave mats while others will paint the morning skies. Some children will sketch sparrows while others will sing to the solar system.
If science and technology help us to answer questions of “what” and “how,” the arts and humanities give us ways to confront the intangible, to contemplate the “why,” to imagine, and to create. If ever there were a time to nurture those skills in our young people, it is now, when our nation’s future may depend on our creativity and our ability to understand and appreciate the cultures around the world as much as on our proficiency in reading and math. – David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University.