Full STEAM Ahead: The Understated Importance of Creativity in Education
Within the education system, there exists the idea that the arts are not as important as certain “core” subjects like math, science, literature, or history. Oftentimes, the arts are relegated to the periphery as electives, viewed as serving only a supplemental purpose in learning. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that incorporating the arts as a core part of the school curriculum is the right way to go. While current core subjects teach essential knowledge, the arts provide a different and equally important educational purpose by fostering imagination and creativity, which translate as life skills to be successful inside the classroom and beyond.
An arts education aids the growth and development of children as students and later, as well-rounded young people and adults in their day-to-day lives. The arts cultivate creativity, which gives students tools for problem solving and critical thinking that can be applied to other subjects. A literature review by Frontiers in Psychology detailed studies that showed a connection between aesthetic experiences and improved emotional and mental health. Furthermore, exercising creativity and imagination encourages students to draw connections and form deeper understandings of the material they are learning. An arts education is a compassionate education that considers the emotional and social wellbeing of students so they can have a positive learning experience.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) programs are taking the initiative to make an integrated arts education a reality in K-12 schools. Compared to STEM, the incorporation of arts in the STEAM curriculum enhances activities in subject areas such as science and mathematics by introducing an element of creativity. Despite the lack of obvious connection between the arts and the traditional “academic” subjects, this method has been shown to bolster academic success. By allowing students to interact with theoretical concepts in creative ways, they retain knowledge easier and discover innovative ways to approach problems that they can apply in the future.
Yours Humanly provides children in need access to quality education—and we support efforts that promote and implement STEAM programs in classroom curriculum. Through our Coloring Futures initiative, Yours Humanly introduces and builds upon STEM and arts programs by hosting family STEAM nights and by providing STEM kits, math kits, art supplies, and program instructors when needed, to encourage student engagement, innovation, and success beyond the classroom.
Going forward, efforts should be made to mainstream arts education into standard curriculum and STEM programs. The contribution of the arts to academic success is significant and necessary. British author Ken Robinson, a leader of scores of high-profile projects promoting education in the arts, said, “Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
Yours HumanlyAugust 10, 2021