The Arts in Education Posted on February 28, 2014 by Kari McMullin Reply “It is really through the arts that we give form to some of our most powerful experiences of being human. . . I really believe that an education which omits the arts is omitting a major part of what it is that makes us human”—Sir Ken Robinson Have you seen The Monuments Men? George Clooney directed this film, a great homage to the real-life men who, in World War II, risked their lives in order to preserve the legacy of the worlds’ great artists, the works that Hitler determined to destroy if he could not have them for himself. The Book Thief touches on this subject, as well. I loved the book, but finally got to see the movie adaptation last weekend (how much did I love Geoffery Rush?). The image of people tossing books onto a burning pyre was powerful, and I couldn’t help but wonder what role this extermination of art and literature had on the devastation of the Holocaust. If the arts help us remain connected with our humanity, what happens in a world without those arts? People more well-versed than I have written a lot about the importance of arts in education. Check out some of these great insights (yes, I’m a little consumed with Sir Ken Robinson these days, as his paradigm has come up in multiple conversations of late): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvxXGYXzoNo But it’s not all from Sir Ken: There’s an article from edutopia.org that examines what, exactly, is being done currently in schools to revive arts education: here Dosomething.org has a great list of facts about how important the arts are, and includes suggestions about how teens can get involved: here The National Endowment for the Arts has a lot of great resources, news, and grant opportunities: here It’s true, Kindermusik is a high-quality music program that uses all sorts of strategies and techniques to help children learn musical concepts in a developmentally appropriate way. However, it is far more than music education. It is a way of using the arts to help develop the whole child. Raising a child is an amazing, and sometimes very difficult, task. Sometimes it is hard, in the middle of the diapers and cleaning up the messes, to remember that, among the difficulties, there is great joy in raising children. Participating in Kindermusik classes with my children has been a great way for me to “give form . . . to most powerful experiences of being” a parent, and I’m grateful for it.