The Impact of Art Class on Students

Art education is so much more than just learning to draw a shapely line and studying the position of colours on the colour wheel, especially for young, developing minds. For many children, art is a tool that fosters critical-thinking skills and aids in problem-solving, highlighting the importance of art in education and their holistic development.

Exploration, experimentation, and reasoning all play huge roles in a quality art curriculum, and all are skills that benefit children as they grow and progress. This is the premise behind the Arts Programme at One World International School (OWIS).

OWIS art classes

Importance of Art in Education

Art plays a unique role in developing a child’s mind, contrasting sharply with the more linear learning paths of Maths or Science.

Through exposure to art classes and projects in school, students cultivate creativity, which involves generating original ideas and viewing problems through multiple perspectives. This creative process naturally leads to enhanced problem-solving skills as students navigate the challenges of bringing their visions to life.

Additionally, art improves practical skills and dexterity through hands-on activities like colouring or painting, which refine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Furthermore, art education helps students see the interconnectedness of different subjects; for instance Science comes into play when mixing different colours of paint.

Partaking in art activities can also give children the much needed relaxation time, away from their more academic studies. It encourages them to try new things, to experiment and to analyse when things may not quite go the way they expected.

While not always a mandatory part of a student’s curriculum, OWIS believes the benefits of arts education for enhancing students’ overall development should not be overlooked.

The different benefits of arts education in schools include the fact that:

Art Improves Academic Performance

Integrating art education into a school’s academic curriculum is not just an enhancement but a vital component of fostering well-rounded intellectual development.

A study coordinated by James Catterall, a former education professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, emphasises that student involvement in the arts significantly enhances students’ reading, writing, verbal, and Math abilities.

For example, certain techniques such as calligraphy or ink painting help develop precision and patience. The focused attention required for these art forms improves students’ ability to concentrate for extended periods, which benefits their performance in complex subjects like Maths, where sustained attention and careful execution of processes are essential.

Some children may naturally lean towards the arts rather than more academic studies. Therefore, it is important to provide a well-rounded educational experience in order for them to develop holistically.

Art Impacts Social and Emotional Development

Participating in group activities such as theatre, art festivals and art shows not only helps children develop a healthy sense of self-esteem, it also cultivates social skills. These experiences teach students appropriate ways to interact with peers, parents, audiences and school personnel. Through these interactions, they form friendships and learn the basics of teamwork, including how to utilise each others’ skills for a greater collective goal.

For instance, if someone is not confident at acting on stage but is extremely skilled at art, they may choose to take on the role of set designer. This teaches children to work as a team, harnessing each others’ skills and integrating them together to create something amazing.

Moreover, the benefits of art education for students include a profound positive impact on the brain. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, individuals who study and practice art show better memory skills, are more keen observers, and have a more developed sense of embodied cognition — the ability to imagine oneself inside a static scene such as an oil painting.

Additionally, art is renowned as an amazing stress reliever. By taking time out to do artwork in whatever form, children can spend time relaxing and journeying to another emotional and creative space in their minds.

Art Fosters Innovation

In art classes, students don’t just learn about colours and compositions; they immerse themselves in a continuous innovation process. For instance, when engaging in art activities, students often face the challenge of visualising and creating something entirely new—a process similar to what engineers do when designing innovative products.

Such hands-on experience spotlights the importance of the arts in encouraging young minds to experiment and think creatively. This creative cycle builds essential skills such as adaptability, critical thinking, and the ability to see projects through from conception to completion.

Art Improves Cultural Understanding and Diversity

Art education enriches students’ perspectives by exposing them to diverse cultural expressions and traditions. Art is shaped by the artist’s personal experiences. Through art, the students are able to showcase the social and cultural influences they are exposed to.

This understanding emphasises the importance of art in schools, helping to cultivate a more inclusive learning environment. Additionally, it enables students to develop a broader view of the world, enhancing their ability to appreciate and respect diverse cultural backgrounds.

Art as a Tool for Emotional Resilience

Art classes offer students a welcome escape from the high-pressure academic environment. They step away from the relentless pursuit of top marks and endless extracurriculars into a space where they can be themselves.

Whether they’re throwing paint onto a canvas, playing heartfelt melodies on the violin, or stepping into a character in drama class, students use these opportunities to channel their stress into something creative. It’s this shift from rigorous academics to expressive art that helps them process emotions and manage stress.

Clearly, the invaluable benefit of art education in schools lies in its ability to help students find their emotional resilience in a demanding world.

Art Promotes Skill Development

Lastly, the benefits of art education extend to the holistic development of students. For example, when students engage in a watercolour painting of a landscape, they’re learning more than just art techniques.

As they choose which colours to use for the sky or the grass, they practise decision-making and learn to consider the outcomes of their choices. They also develop patience and precision while waiting for layers to dry and adding detailed touches, which helps enhance their focus and fine motor skills.

Additionally, when students collaborate on a group art project, such as a classroom mural, they gain hands-on experience in cooperation. They must align their creative visions, agree on colours and shapes, and address any challenges that arise, actively practising compromise and collective problem-solving.

This type of artistic activity encourages a thoughtful, disciplined approach to tasks, which is beneficial for their overall development.

The Arts Programme at OWIS

At One World International School, we are dedicated to providing an environment where our children can flourish and explore. Our students show exceptional engagement, from appreciating art to actively participating in the planning and creating of their own artwork.

They hone their skills from visualisation to creation, working with various wet and dry materials, digital art tools, and 3D sculpture. Through hands-on experiences, our students can explore multiple artistic forms, enabling them to develop their skills through practical experiences. In return, they learn to think creatively, question the world around them, and gain confidence in who they are.

Additionally, OWIS students have ample opportunities to showcase and exhibit their artworks. Whether participating in a drama performance or taking part in an art show, children enrolled in the Arts Programme at OWIS become well-rounded, confident students.

Our school provides an amazing space featuring separate art areas and spacious classrooms, where children can proudly present their skills and artwork to their families.

An education that values the importance of the arts cultivates well-rounded students poised for success.

Contact us today to learn more about how our Arts Programme at OWIS can enrich your child’s educational journey.

(This blog was originally written in collaboration with Ms Malathi Therunavukarasu, former Art Teacher, OWIS Nanyang.)

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