Valuing the Arts Page
Arts Are Literacy—A view through the Anenberg Grant – By Jill D. Bittinger
Recall a favorite memory from your own education and chances are high that it involves a time in which you created something. Understanding the value of JOY in Education helps one to appreciate the essential role for the Arts and the creation process. When individuals engage in creative acts, they deepen in their being, become more cultured, interested and interesting. Social Emotional and Intra-personal learning (within the self) takes place naturally. The experience imprints in a lasting way, along with the new perceptions gained. When able to see him or herself as an artist (which all young children do), there is an enthusiasm and an ability to be fully engaged in each moment.
As a teaching and performing artist in the New York area for ten years, I was privileged to witness this enlivening process first-hand. I was thrilled to see the Joy that lit up the children’s faces as they participated in the Creative Dance programs we facilitated. Later, as a classroom teacher, Arts became a regular part of the classroom experience. I never failed to see the children light up by the opportunity to move, to paint, to draw, to make or listen to music. Illiciliting this creative expression has truly been a joy in my teaching career. One teaching residency under the Annenberg Grant said it best, “Arts ARE Literacy.”
Erica Zigelman, another Dance Teacher, and I facilitated an Arts Retreat for Teachers in New York; Creating Connections: Dance and the Core Curriculum. Through participation, we demonstrated the pathway and interrelationship to incorporate the arts in an ongoing way. Here are some of the points made:
Creating Connections: Dance and the Core Curriculum
- Dance transforms ideas, feelings and movements into something significant both personally and socially. It is both a way to self-express and a way to respond to others; a natural means of communication. Dance provides children the skills and knowledge for celebration of humanity.
- Students that express thoughts, feelings, and ideas through movement are exploring the creative process through selecting, combining, refining, and presenting movement. They are given a safe space for risk taking and it results in confidence. It allows dialogue about the selection process.
- Creative Dance invites imagination, cooperation and interconnection
- Through appreciating dance in the cultural context, children can become aware of Movement and Rhythm as a self-expression of people all over the world.