Weaving the Arts & Movement
What do art, movement, and life skills have in common? In short answer - learning. The all important life - soft - skills, like communication, kindness, love, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and regulation, decision making are interwoven in physical activity and the arts.
Students use their body to help them think and learn and grow. The body is an amazing source of knowledge that helps keep us safe, make decisions, focus, physical health, hormone balance, understanding where we are in space, and provides sensory information, to name a few. Children need to have a growing understanding of the value of their body otherwise they risk becoming disconnected and ignore this wonderful and invaluable resource we are gifted with. Taking care of the body begins with understanding that value. Understanding comes with sports, dance, creative movement, stillness, breath work.
The power of the body to overcome mental disorders, build resiliency against trauma, boost immune strength, prevent disease, and create well being is being increasingly recognized in the field of psychology. In a few schools initiating a change in education, kids are allowed to go outside or do some sort of recess every half hour. There is no ADHD, problems from learning disabilities, or behavior issues!!! Those issues with learning and the system of school were eradicated!!
Most people in western culture participate in sports and are benefited by the exercise and teamwork found there. However, not all students connect to the goal and organization of sports. It also takes up several evenings and weekend days a week that is difficult for families who are already stretched. Additionally, many athletes go outside of their sport to take other courses like yoga, gymnastics, and karate, and dance to access the body and mind building benefits of flexibility, breath work, and stillness, that aren't often included in sports.
Movement is enhanced and the body is further discovered and strengthened when combined with the arts. Kinesthetic, emotional, and cognitive processes are accessed and enhanced by movement. Flexibility of mind and body are gained by expanding avenues of information processing in art. Stillness and breath work along with gestural , and bilateral work are a natural component of art making. Just as in serious play, students construct a self and an identity with serious art making. Art provides a framework to foster creativity directly because it is a visual language that can access deeper thinking. Since art is challenging, fun and rewarding, students are motivated to learn in this way. Autonomy, an important aspect of learning and motivation, is possible and encouraged through the use of art. Intrinsic motivation, cognitive, social, and affective learning occur significantly through the use of art.
A trained art therapist and/or artist/educator encourages self-reflection, positive interpersonal interaction, and increased awareness about the relationship to oneself and others through the modalities of the expressive arts. These aspects of learning are inherent to the arts and are possible in solo participation. However the depth and breadth of learning cannot be attained in solo work. The group and guidance are essential to learning. Participation in youth enrichment programs has great long term benefits!