Watching our students perform Elf Jr. last week was exciting and inspirational. Some of the students who were performing are outgoing and confident, it isn’t much of a surprise that they are excelling in the theatre. However, seeing other students who are usually quiet, lacking self-confidence, or struggling academically get on stage and reveal a completely different side of themselves is a great reminder that there’s more to our students than what we see in the classroom!
I often joke that I grew up in a gym. If I wasn’t playing sports, I was watching, reffing, or coaching. My life revolved around sports for many of my most formative years. While I learned a lot of important life lessons from my experiences in sports and have no regrets about how I grew up, I would change one thing if I could go back in time. I would get involved in the Arts, heavily involved. I think I would have a hard time convincing my young self to listen to that advice but knowing everything I know now, I’d work very hard to find a way to talk myself into it!
Providing our students with opportunities to think critically, solve problems creatively, and find success in areas beyond the classroom, are just some of the many benefits of Arts education, no matter where or when we provide it. Unfortunately, Arts education is often infrequent or relegated to after school times due to the school-day focus on “core” academic classes. That’s not to say that the Arts and core classes are in competition with each other, in fact it should really be the opposite and they should be working together as much as possible. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, there’s lots of research that shows that students involved in the Arts have more success in their core academic areas than students who aren’t. The importance of the Arts can’t be overlooked!
If you didn’t get a chance to see Elf Jr. this past weekend I think you’ll get a chance this week when our students see it. While you’re watching, let yourself be inspired by our young thespians and keep in mind how important the Arts can be for our students. Then, at your next collaborative time, take a few minutes to talk with your team about how you/we can incorporate more Arts into our programs – it will benefit our students in all areas.
Enjoy the show!!