Nurture an environment for learners to take risks and build resilience— Mr Jeeves on art education
Curriculum Development and Programmes Manager for Cambridge Assessment International Education, Mr Lloyd Jeeves has called on teachers to nurture an environment where learners could take risks and build resilience in achieving holistic approach to art education.
According to him, holistic approach to art education does not focus solely on technical skills as research had shown that art education in primary schools played a valuable role in a child’s development.
Mr Jeeves in an article on Cambridge Primary Art and Design Education, said the Cambridge Primary Art and Design curriculum was created on this premise, giving learners the space to explore and express themselves freely while supporting the development of social and reflective skills.
He noted that in the African context of education, arts were not considered as important as STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
Mr Jeeves observed that studies showed that the cultivation of arts subjects created the necessary balance to enhance performance in other learning areas that require more intense cerebral activity and are seen as more important.
He said art and design nurtured creativity in young minds, which supported them in solving problems in other Cambridge Primary subjects, including English, Mathematics, Science, Global Perspectives and Computing.
“Art develops concentration skills and perseverance as children explore different tools and materials, mastering their use to create beautiful objects and designs. These are important skills, necessary to excel in all other subjects,” Mr Jeeves, stated.
He said free exploration of art tools further supported the development of accurate letter and number formation in English and Mathematics.
“Art and design provides a platform for all learners to communicate and express themselves, which especially aids learners who find communication and interaction challenging, including learners with autism,” Mr Jeeves said.
He said the focus on experimental learning allowed learners to develop and challenge their motor skills in ways that were appropriate to their physical abilities.
Mr Jeeves stated that art and design education support those with visual impairments to touch and manipulate materials with different textures and properties, thereby providing a wide range of sensory opportunities.
That, he said had created a safe, supportive, and inclusive space for learners to experiment and develop.
“An early introduction to art & design helps learners develop positive attitudes to creative thinking and creative subjects, which benefits future learning. The subject encourages them to celebrate their own and others’ artistic experiences. This builds a sense of community in the classroom from an early age and fosters an openness to diversity as they experience art and design from different times and cultures,” Mr Jeeves added.