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Arts & A*’s: Why Cultural Education is Critical to Children

Think back to the last time you looked at an ancient artifact in the museum. Did you understand the symbolism and narrative of it just by looking at it?


Now, imagine you are an eight-year-old child peering over the podium trying to interpret the jargon of the curatorial sign or putting that artifact into a greater context of history.

Understanding culture and the arts can be a hard and daunting task for some children, but like the age-old parable says, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” However, culture does more than just allow children to reflect on the past, but rather it allows kids to expand their microcosmic lens to become the citizens of the future.

Children today need the information and experience to shape them to be the globally-minded, but so often in schools, this exposure is not the case. With the looming budgets and faculty cuts, arts education continues to be cut within educational institutions. A BBC Survey showing that 90% of schools have cut back on lesson time or faculty in at least one creative subject, with arts education being completely cut entirely in some schools. Arts, music, and theatre, which were once outlets of creativity and individuality, are now becoming missed opportunities for many. In fact, those who suffer most, as the Warwick University report stated, are children with disadvantaged backgrounds; paradoxically, these are the ones the Cultural Learning Alliance say are the ones most likely to benefit. Though it may not be one of the core courses such as algebra or phonics, creative knowledge is still critical within a child’s learning trajectory.

Why?

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said in the Cultural Learning Alliance’s Imagine Nation report, that “‘We should teach the arts for their own sake — for the intrinsic value of learning creative skills and the enjoyment they bring…” Beyond enjoyment, the arts recreate a ripple effect within a child’s learning by aiding them with transferable skills and improving cognitive ability across all subjects. But more notably, the arts teach people how to think: they teach empathy, observation, and critical thinking, all while sparking creativity and confidence.


Unlike prescriptive subjects, within arts and culture children can limitless think and explore. They can feel, communicate, and converse about other people’s stories; they can learn about languages, art forms, and the foundations of other societies around the globe. Culture can expand the vantage point from which they look at the world, and it allows us create a generation with open-minds, creativity, and emotional maturity.

Now, this is not saying that exploration is limited to the arts though; creativity comes in all forms — for one child it may be Scratch code but to another it could be an easel. The arts and STEM are not opponents within a curriculum, but the two work together in synergy to foster the most educated, diverse, and well-rounded pupils of the future.

We at Musemio believe that every child should have unrestricted access to creative learning. To find out more about how we are fostering arts and cultural education in the next generation, visit www.musemio.com or email us at info@musemio.com