Philosophy of Art Education

    The desire to record, reflect and share our experience of the world is a basic human instinct, a commonality that bridges cultural, political, and religious divisions. My philosophy of art education is focused on developing conscientious and compassionate students, who learn and practices skills needed to effectively communicate and contribute to their community. Learning in the visual arts is essential, and I believe that a comprehensive education should include opportunities for students to analyze, express, interpret, and reflect upon their understanding of the visual world. We are educating our children for an unknown future, and there is a significant and acknowledged need to develop a creative and analytical workforce equipped to tackle the unique, complex problems we face as a global community. What better time for art educators to share our expertise, encouraging resilience and persistence through creativity and problem-solving with our students? A quality art education program can equip our children with a unique set of skills inherent to visual art, but applicable across disciplines.
    Within the school community, I believe a comprehensive art curriculum compliments and enriches the academic curriculum. As students find natural connections between visual arts with aesthetics in engineering, repetition and pattern in mathematics and imagery in language arts, etc, learning comes to life for them. Education in the arts offers a space for children to explore new materials and methods for their use, allows them to share their unique perspective through visual imagery, reference and interpret imagery from the past, and understand how the arts contribute to a welcoming, tolerate society. As children spend time in the art studio, they learn persistence, divergent thinking strategies, how to plan and execute their ideas to the best of their unique ability, care for the space, and how to encourage one another. These skills are transferable outside of the art studio; in fact, as students practice these skills in the art studio, they can apply these skills in other academic settings.
    Children practice interpersonal skills as they learn to share materials and ideas with their peers in a lively, yet calm studio space. Consistent, developmentally-appropriate expectations for demeanor and work-ethic is modeled by the teacher through playful routines and procedures, and are taught in light of how care for others and the classroom space allows everyone, regardless of skill or ability, to daily "do our best work." Quality art curricula encourages all children to develop personal standards by which they will judge their own work, both cognitive and tangible, and offers multiple avenues for improving craftsmanship and demonstrating their learning. Often these standards reflect personal convictions and beliefs about themselves and their world, and the art studio provides a safe place for all students to begin exploring their sense of self as they develop critical thinking skills.
    Elementary art classrooms are often the last "formal" setting where society receives instruction in the visual arts; what a profound and important role elementary art educators play in contributing to the artistic understanding of our community! Exposure to content, materials, and processes used by artists to make sense of the world offers children a broader and more nuanced understanding of the human story. As students "graduate" from the elementary art classroom, my goal is that they leave with a willingness to playfully explore and problem solve, a sense of confidence in their personal skills and unique ideas, and the inclination to engage with and contribute to their community.