As we approach a very busy end of term, many year groups around the school can be heard practising for their end of year productions - this always brings a smile to my face. As you know, the performing arts, particularly singing, have always been a passion of mine, and in two weeks’ time, Year 6 will be performing ‘The Jungle Book’ at the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham. I can’t tell you how excited we all are, particularly after a brilliant rehearsal week last week.
So what is the value of the creative arts in education and why are they so important? Many years ago I wrote a paper as part of my MA on exactly that subject. The arts are essential in life - they can shape and define who we are and how we understand ourselves.
According to UNESCO, “the encouragement of creativity from an early age is one of the best guarantees of growth in a healthy environment of self-esteem and mutual respect - critical ingredients for building a culture of peace.”
Dance, drama, music and visual arts are fundamental to cultural engagement and personal development. Artistic experience develops imagination and in turn imagination develops creativity. However, the arts don’t just develop a child’s creativity—the skills they learn spill over into academic achievement. The arts instil in our pupils the habits of mind that last a lifetime: analytical skills, the ability to solve problems, perseverance and a drive for excellence. The creative skills children develop through the arts carry them toward new ideas, new experiences and new challenges, as well as offering personal satisfaction and developing self-esteem.
As a school, we try to develop our children to become happy, well-adjusted citizens, rather than pupils who can simply pass a test and get through school. We must ensure our children can think creatively, skilfully, and "outside the box”. The arts are a vital part of doing this and of ensuring that every pupil can achieve his or her potential and contribute fully to our society.
I wish you all a restful weekend.
Rebecca Izard (Head of Staff/ Head of Creative Arts)