I work at an elementary school as an after care leader and often assist the school’s drama production during performances and whenever needed. When I am not helping the drama program, I am on the field coaching students of all ages or in the classroom assisting students with homework.
When I clock into work every day, I walk in hoping for the kids to be excited about the planned activities throughout the day. The school I work at has an amazing fine arts program that includes clubs that allow students to perfect the crafts they are passionate about. Their curriculum includes music and art classes and students can join the drama, dance, art or chorus club among many other clubs we offer at the school.
I see how excited the students get when they go to their clubs and how excited they get when the new musical is announced and when auditions start. The arts programs create outlets for students that they normally don’t get in a classroom or on the field playing sports.
The arts give students an opportunity to have a creative and expressive outlet to channel their emotions and find something that they love. In recent years, there has been a prominent debate about whether or not schools should fund arts programs, and the harsh reality is that many schools simply cannot afford it and have to cut them.
Arts programs outside of schools can become very costly, especially for families with more than one child interested in the arts. It breaks my heart to see that many schools cannot afford to keep these programs, especially after seeing the impact it has on the kids and how much joy it brings them to be in these programs. The county needs to find a way to keep these programs alive in order to give students the opportunity to have those creative outlets and express themselves differently than in a rigid academic classroom setting.
Since school districts have cut funding for the arts, they’ve received a lot of backlash and have been forced by the U.S. Department of Education to rebudget and consider arts programs as a fundamental part of education. I agree with this decision because the arts ignite life skills in students beyond creativity and loving a craft. The arts teach students discipline by giving them the responsibility of either attending rehearsals or having them complete certain assignments—whether it’s an art piece or a new dance move. The arts also give students the opportunity to interact with each other and make friends with similar interests.
The arts are important to students because it brings them a different perspective on their own options in life and what they can do besides be in an academic classroom or on a sports team. It allows them to think freely and become creative thinkers while giving them a different outlook on their time spent at school.