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A Case for Creativity and the Arts in Schools

a quote: "What if We Treated Driving Like We Treat the Arts?" ~ Danny Gregory

Creativity and the Arts are often not given the attention they deserve in schools today. As a result, kids miss the important lessons that creativity and the arts provide.

Many of them develop unrealistic standards for the work they create. They expect perfection and struggle to allow themselves to fail, missing the learning opportunity that failing provides. Then these kids grow up to become adults who think they’re not creative.

Here’s some food for thought from “The Creative License” by Danny Gregory. This book was recommended to me years ago by my friend, cartoonist Bridgett Spicer, one of the most creative people I know. The first time I read it I underlined about half of it. I still find more truth in it each time I pick it up. If you care about creativity and the arts, this book is for you.

An excerpt:

It begins, “Too many people seem to feel they are not and cannot ever be creative.” The author goes on to discuss the analogy of how as an adult, you were not born knowing how to drive a car, but with instruction and practice, you learned and can now do it intuitively. He compares this process with the “creative education” you may have received growing up…

“You probably never studied creativity in school. You never learned the basic principles of creativity. You never worked consistently at a creative discipline until you mastered it, probably because the initial learning curve was so steep. When you encountered an obstacle you probably gave up, blaming a lack of talent.”

What if we treated driving like we treat the Arts? We’d assume that people were either born to drive or not. We’d wait and see if, as children, they started driving on their own, if they had talent and a calling. If they did, we would be careful not to interfere with their talent and possibly suppress it. We would make sure to encourage only those who seemed they’d be able to drive professionally.”

“We’d pay some of them millions of dollars to drive and lavish them with fame; others we would refuse to support, encouraging them to do something more useful for society. Everyone else would assume they would never be able to drive and would just stand on the sidewalks and watch the traffic. At least the ozone layer would be in better shape.”

Why creativity and the arts matter

While Danny Gregory exaggerates a bit here to make his point, it’s still a point well taken. Sadly, many schools, both public and private, have dropped Art education altogether due to budget constraints. Yet education in the Arts is a vital component of any well-rounded education. We need to find ways to teach Creativity and the Arts no matter what the ups and downs of our economic climate.

That’s what keeps me inspired to share my favorite K-8 Art lessons and tips for teaching Art to kids. My hope is that classroom teachers, home school teachers, and parents will feel inspired and equipped to create art with the kids in their life, both at home and at school.

So, even if you have no previous Art experience, don’t let that stop you. Grab a copy of The Creative License or one of the other great books by Danny Gregory for inspiration. Then let the Teach Kids Art website equip you to dive in with confidence. Explore the many lesson plans and helpful tips you’ll find here. And be sure to sign up to receive my weekly email TIP of the WEEK.

The affiliate links used in this post enable me to earn a small commission from your purchases, at no added cost to you. Thank you for supporting Teach Kids Art!

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  1. Cheryl, I like the car driving analogy in refrnce to art. Very good post.
    Love, RT