*Post in association with Jessica Foreman
Art and design subjects have had a hard time in recent years. The figures show a steady decline of students electing to take these subjects at higher education level, and schools recently saw a 10% plummet in students opting to take Design and Technology for GCSE. Teachers in these subjects are understandably concerned about the impact this will have on children’s development. But why are art and design subjects so important?
Art and design subjects are a way to communicate and express thoughts and feelings
While criticised by many for being ‘wishy washy’, art and design actually help children with mental health problems. The subjects allow children to express themselves and communicate things they may not (and might never have) the ability to articulate, and given that one in ten children suffer from a mental health disorder, it seems more important than ever to recognise the outlet that art and design offers.
They help children to understand historical, cultural and political issues
Art and design subjects play a central role in educating children about the people that have gone before them, and the unique pressures and challenges that others are currently facing. In this way, they’re a useful medium for understanding historical, cultural and political issues, and can be a helpful way of exploring topics that are otherwise intimidating to approach.
They strengthen perseverance, focus and discipline
Ask anyone who’s tried to create a piece of art in any form, and they’ll tell you it didn’t just happen. This teaches children perseverance (even when they want to give up completely), and requires that they be focussed and disciplined enough to see something finalised.
Art and design lessons foster creativity, innovation, analysis and innovation
These subjects are also important for the fact that they strengthen key skills that are vital for healthy relationships, successful careers and prosperous economies. Innovation and creativity are two skills that are transferable to other subjects in the school environment, and also prove incredibly valuable in the workplace.
They help children to succeed in other classes
Finally, a study in 2011 found that integrating art with other subjects at school could help to raise achievement levels across the board. The researchers found that the kinds of skills learned in visual arts were used to improve reading and mathematics, supporting the belief that creative subjects can help children to achieve higher grades in seemingly unrelated subjects.
It’s clear to see that art and design plays a very important role in a child’s life. So, whether you’re a teacher, an employee of a school or an interested parent, be sure to encourage children to take art and design subjects. Schools need to ensure they’re well supplied (buying tools and equipment from a supplier such as this one), and it’s the responsibility of teachers and parents to educate children about the skills and benefits that art and design can offer.