I recently came across an article entitled “The Arts as the ‘Basics’ of Education” by Kieran Egan (Childhood Education, 1997). Although 15 years old, the concepts presented are still true today. Egan believes that “we begin as poets, using the techniques that language provides to make sense of our world. The arts, then, are the basics of our educational development. It is through deployment of the tools and skills that are central to early language development – story, metaphor, rhyme and rhythm, binary structuring and mediation, image formation from words, affective abstraction, and so on – that we lay down the true basics of education” (p.345).
While our school days may be full of required curricula and activities, we would be wise as educators to heed Egan’s call. Don’t forget about the power of imagination and creativity to spur learning.
Looking for art inspiration? Try these links:
- lesson plans and more at The Incredible @rt Department
- amazing ideas and visuals on the smART Class blog
- Americans for the Arts
- Arts and Activities Magazine
- Concordia University Chicago – Artists and Their Art: Sharing Visual Stories
- Kennedy Center: ARTSEDGE
- Scholastic Art Resource Center