Arts within Primary Education

8 August 2018

The arts are essential in life. They can shape and define who we are and how we understand ourselves.

Every child is born with creative potential, but this potential may be stifled if care is not taken to nurture and stimulate creativity. Young children are naturally curious. They wonder about people and the world. Even before entering school, they already have a variety of learning skills acquired through questioning, enquiring, searching, manipulating, experimenting and playing. Children need opportunities for a closer look; they need time for the creative encounter. Creative learning is a natural human process that occurs when people become curious and excited. Children prefer to learn in creative ways rather than just memorising information provided by teachers or parents. They also learn better and sometimes faster.

The term ‘creativity ‘as it relates to the classroom, goes beyond art class and school projects. At its best, creativity in the classroom is about how a teacher captivates pupils and inspires them to learn. Teachers who are practised in the art of developing creativity are generally focused on creating a classroom culture that thrives on creativity. They build a repertoire of strategies designed to spark new ideas and bring out a spirit of creativity in students, and they adapt and create ideas for their own curriculum needs.

There is no doubt that the arts are fun for children. Diving into finger paints and making a beautiful picture to hang on the fridge or acting in a play are both wonderful experiences but the arts also help children develop on many fundamental levels.

  • Creativity In an arts programme children can take their experiences of the world and transform them, making new connections and relationships through their inventive minds. Their knowledge, memories and fantasies all feed their imagination. If children have practise thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.
  • Improved Academic Performance The arts do not just develop a child’s creativity- the skills they learn spill over into academic achievement. Children who participate regularly in the arts are more likely to be recognised for academic achievement, to participate in a mathematics or science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
  • Motor skills Simple things like holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon when young are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills.
  • Confidence While mastering a subject certainly builds a pupil’s confidence; there is something special about participating in the arts. Getting up on stage and delivering a speech or singing a song gives children the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.
  • Visual learning Pictures encourage children to think about and understand the world visually, instead of restricting learning and the acquisition of knowledge to words and numbers alone. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.
  • Autonomy A child’s picture is his or her own. It has worth in its own right, without having to be measured or judged by others as right or wrong. The child has the authority to say what the picture is of, or what it communicates, building up their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Decision making The arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. How do I express this feeling through dance? How should I play this character? How do I depict a three-dimensional scene from the world on a two-dimensional page? Learning how to make choices and decisions is an important life skill.
  • Perseverance Learning to master a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, requires perseverance. As children grow they will be constantly required to persevere in order to master new skills or work through difficult projects.
  • Focus As pupils persevere through painting or singing or learning a part in a play, focus is imperative.
  • Collaboration Many of the arts such as band, choir and theatre require children to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise in order to achieve their common goal. Children will learn that their contribution to the group is integral to its success.
  • Accountability Just like collaboration, children in the arts learn that they are accountable for their contributions to the group. If they make a mistake they need to learn to take responsibility for the mistake and then move on.


POWIIS Primary will have a culture of developing the arts within the curriculum, and will ensure that children’s experiences of primary school are enlivened and enriched by the arts.