School should give elementary art programs a chance
Proponents of an expanded elementary program should get an "A" for effort.
Make that an "A" for "Art," as in "McCook Art Guild."
McCook High School recently re-established an agriculture and FFA program that's appropriate for a school in a community where agriculture is of such high importance.
Now the art boosters are making their case for adding an art teacher in the K-8 level in addition to the high school teacher already in place.
Art proponents in general make some good points for having art in schools. They say it:
* Enhances concentration
* Promotes innovation and invention
* Strengthens analytical and complex thinking
* Instills perseverance and completion of tasks
* Develops problem-solving skills
* Ensures academic achievement
* Promotes teamwork
* Encourages attention to detail
* Refines observation skills
* Improves motivation and self-esteem
To that list we'd add: It's fun. It relieves stress. And, art is a lifetime skill, one like, perhaps, tennis or golf, which can be enjoyed long after the body will no longer tolerate more strenuous competitive sports.
Plus, if it's important to build those characteristics at the high school level, those efforts will be that much more effective at the grade school level.
The effort to add an elementary art program shouldn't be seen as a slam against classroom teachers who already provide an art curriculum, and would still be involved. Like the high school art position, a new elementary art teacher would be spread pretty thin over the number of students he or she would be expected to serve.
Like everything else, the current economy overshadows every decision involving money, and schools are likely to be struggling to maintain staffing levels, let alone adding new staff.
But if and when money can be found, an expanded art program should be given serious consideration.