Around here, we are getting ready to kick off a new school year within our school district. Just like most of the nation last march, everything shut down, and the fight against COVID ensued, and schools scrambled to go virtual.
Now just two weeks before school begins, they want to make changes to the high school and Jr. High schedules. I get what they are trying to attempt, but the proposed changes affect every child who participates in the creative arts. This means these electives that are usually a year-long are now only a semester with what they are proposing.
I say all of this because I find it ironic that yesterday I received several surveys on my opinion of this….as I was trying to write a 20-page paper for my doctoral degree on why the creative arts are important to the healthy development of the young child. Let that sink in…. I was writing a 20-page paper… Why CREATIVE ARTS ARE IMPORTANT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE YOUNG CHILD. I hope you are laughing because I was laughing!
It made my mind wonder as I was reflecting on my day. How have we come so far as an education system that we have forgotten beyond the Early Childhood years the meaning of developmentally appropriate practice? The arts have always been and always will be an important if not the most important of courses in school. What kind of growth are you going to see in students when you take all the fun away for Jr. High and high school students who don't get recess anymore, you take away their electives for the year, and they spend all day on academics and have no creative release. That's the most horrific thing I have ever heard. That sure as hell is not developmentally appropriate.
As most of us in the profession know, ECE is a different ball game, and our counterparts in the k-12 systems rarely consider us equals. But I'm thinking it time they reeducate themselves and take a page out of our handbooks and go back to what we know works! Time to go back to teaching the whole child, letting children be creative, and support children's needs. People think the older children get the less time they need for these activities. YEAH RIGHT! Every human being, no matter their age, has something they do every day, every week, that they enjoy, that brightens their day, where they can relax, let loose and express themselves. Its what we have to do to stay mentally and physically healthy. So why is that taken away from children when they enter the public school systems. Why is it ever even a consideration to cut out the arts due to budget shortfalls? Creative arts are vital and just as important if not more important than the core courses.
I'd love to hear more about what is happening across the nation as schools are opening up. Are there significant shifts in school schedule changes within your districts? Were start dates affected?
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