A School with an Eye on The Arts!
From its inception, St. Patrick Academy has embraced the arts as a fundamental component of its educational mission. The skills and experiences developed and nurtured through the arts are essential for our 21st century students. Our vision statement says that we will prepare students to “meet the needs of a diverse and changing world”. As Wynton Marsalis, renowned American musician states: “the arts allow you to live in a greater percentage of the world”.
In order to attend to all aspects of our students’ development and provide them with the tools to be self-motivated critical thinkers, we must not only include the arts in the life of the Academy, but also integrate them throughout. Students educated to meet the school-wide learning expectations of creativity, enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, determination, motivation, and self-discipline will do so in large part due to the arts. God is present in the totality of human experience; as a school which exists to give glory to the One who is the source of life, we cannot ignore the arts as intrinsic to who we are.
The mission of the Academy’s Arts for Learning (A4L) educational program is to transform the lives and learning of young people through the arts (music, visual arts, drama, dance). Educational experts worldwide are placing a spotlight on arts-for-learning programs and their contributions to positive student learning outcomes. Several studies have shown how arts education promotes student achievement, improves student behavior, and increases attendance and class engagement.
The key to A4L is to weave the arts into the fabric of the school – to provide direct instruction in each arts discipline and to use the arts to teach other curriculum subjects such as language arts, science, social studies, and theology. To flourish in an A4L classroom, a student need not have any particular skill or talent in the arts; the arts are simply used as a tool to engage the whole student - mind and body - in the learning process. In an A4L school, students experience the arts as a way of life, as tools for self-expression, as a vehicle for discovering diversity in the worl d around them, and as an entry point for learning and exploring complex ideas. These are the tools - creativity, communication and collaboration - necessary for success in our ever-changing 21st century world.
All students are eager to learn; by using creative, engaging, arts-centered instructional strategies, St. Patrick Academy is providing a dynamic and effective educational environment for its students.
What Is Arts For Learning(A4L)?
Arts for Learning is weaving the arts -movement, dance, visual arts, music and other forms - into the classroom as tools for learning. The arts create learning opportunities for students with diverse learning styles, and challenges them to think deeply and view the world and academic content through the additional, multiple lenses of visual art, dance, music, and drama.
As an A4L community, we will learn in, about, and through the arts to enhance academic, social-emotional, and artistic growth in all students, thereby educating the whole child. Through critical thinking, inquiry, creativity and appreciation of the arts, students are able to connect to themselves, each other, all cultures, and the beauty of the world.
Why Arts For Learning?
In order for our students to succeed outside the classroom, they need to be engaged and taught essential academic and life skills inside the classroom. Teaching in a way that engages students through movement, music and various forms of artistic expression recognizes that students learn in many ways and leads to a deeper level of understanding. The arts also provide an avenue for learning valuable skills in confidence, creativity and collaboration.
What Does This Mean For Our Students?
Students are exposed to a variety of arts including dance/ movement, theater, music and visual arts. They learn about problem solving, use thinking skills and learn more in depth about each particular art form. Perhaps most importantly, they are engaged in making connections between real life, the curriculum and the arts.
Research Supporting The Arts In Education
Why the arts change the learning experience:
- The arts reach students who are not otherwise being reached.
- The arts reach students in ways that they are not otherwise being reached.
- The arts connect students to themselves and each other.
- The arts transform the environment for learning.
- The arts provide new challenges for those students already considered successful.
- The arts connect learning experiences to the world of real work.
- Learning in and through the arts can help level the playing field for youngsters from disadvantaged circumstances
- High arts participation makes a more significant difference to students from low-income backgrounds than for high-income students.
- Students with high levels of arts participation outperform “arts-poor” students by virtually every measure.
- Sustained involvement in the arts is highly correlated with success in mathematics and reading.
- Student achievement is heightened in an environment with high quality arts education offerings and a school climate supportive of active and productive learning.
- Schools should develop and offer to their students a critical mass of arts subjects in visual arts, music, dance, and drama. Within this provision, young people must be allowed to study as fully as possible across the arts disciplines.
- Using arts to teach academic subjects results not only in improved content understanding but also in greatly improved self-regulating behavior. Student behavior improves strikingly in such areas as taking risks, cooperating, solving problems, and taking initiative for learning and being prepared.
- Teaching arts every day in the core curriculum of elementary school is the single most powerful tool presently available to educators to motivate students, enhance learning, and develop higher order thinking skills.
- Effective education attends to the whole personality and allows for personal expression; it involves production, reflection and perception. Combining two forms of education - the scholastic-formal model and the apprenticeship model (as found in the arts) - produce more effective educational results.