EACH child is born with artistic sensibilities that should be incubated from a tender age to help him or her to emerge as a shrewd artiste.
While it is said an artiste is born not made, surely schools can play a key role to incubate, nourish and encourage the artistic sensibilities in pupils.
Highveld Primary School, in Rusape is one such institution that has created an environment where creativity is generated, and teachers ignite the passion for visual and performing arts through motivation and regular encouragement.
Highveld held its annual arts evening last Saturday where children of different races and cultural backgrounds — ECD to Grade 7 — showcased their unperturbed talents in drama, music and dance, poetry, public speaking and oratory competitions, among others, much to the excitement and appreciation of parents who packed the school hall to the brims.
It was an eye opener, and the parents, some of whom for years pushed their children to do well in maths and science while overlooking the importance of this critical learning area — the arts — were left convinced that young people exposed to good and effective arts teaching experience remarkable benefits.
In a summation, acting Highveld head Josphat Mudoni said, “Pupils studying art, music, drama and dance accrue heightened enjoyment and fulfilment, an increase in skill and knowledge, advances in personal and social development. Development of creativity and critical thinking skills and the enrichment of communication and expressive skills”.
The ex-Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazurus Dokora deserves special mention for throwing caution to the wind after that aggressive push for engagement in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) while ignoring the importance of the arts in children’s overall development.
He argued that art and design need to be added to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.
True to this vision, creative and artistic activities benefit children’s learning and development as a whole and have significant positive impacts that lead to better mental health in later life.
Mudoni said quality arts experiences in early childhood impact the brain’s development in other areas for example, learning how to read music can help children in other areas such as maths and languages.
Highveld’s arts evening gave learners the opportunity to showcase their talent on a professional stage. It stimulates love for theatre and the performing arts while creating an individual sense of self-esteem, pride, and achievement.
Mudoni said the project encourages nation building as kids and their parents from different cultural backgrounds come together to experience a common goal.
It was riveting to see black, white and Asiatic kids embracing each other and choreographing their act together.
The event proved that there are innumerable reasons for arts to be included in our education system as it helps development of study, social, and personal skills in addition to specific artistic techniques.
“The arts can play a vital role in learning how to learn”.
This is an essential skill for success in all fields in both school and work environments, and it is vital for all students to attain. Arts education develops students who are self-driven and motivated as they are often the toughest critics of their own work. It also teaches students to learn for the experience of learning and not just for the grade.
Involvement in the arts teaches students how to try new things, manage risk and handle failure while providing them with a multitude of options for expressing and communicating their ideas and learn to think about problems from a broad range of perspectives.
These kinds of communication and problem solving abilities are essential to all work environments, regardless of the field.
The ability to generate ideas and communicate them effectively is essential in workplace and this ability can be cultivated through involvement in the arts. If schools want to prepare their students, the best that they can, to enter the working world it they should incorporate an intense arts programme that has as much integrity as science or maths.