Symondsbury Church of England VA Primary School

The Church of England

The Arts

Why the arts matter

At Symondsbury, we strongly believe that the arts matter - not only for academic achievement but for so much more...

Arts education: literacy and numeracy

Spending time embracing the arts has proven benefits for children’s academic performance.
Participation in structured arts can increase cognitive ability and help many children do better at school. 
According to Cultural Alliance research, children who engage in the arts thrive at school. Indeed, arts education contributes to raising attainment in maths and literacy.
For example, studying a work of art involves children describing what they see, expressing how it makes them feel, and discussing what the artist’s motivation might have been. In producing their own art, they consider numeracy concepts like angles, scale and perspective.
Music, meanwhile, involves literacy skills like listening, describing and questioning, and concepts related to maths such as identifying patterns, structures and timing.

Arts education: learning styles

Many children work best if their learning is varied and multisensory – something that arts education delivers hugely successfully.

Arts education: understanding the world

Education is so much more than just learning to read, write and recite times tables; it also helps children understand the bigger picture.
Arts education gives children the opportunity to explore the world around them, to learn about and appreciate their cultural heritage, to collaborate, be creative and express themselves in ways that many other subjects don’t.
This might be in the classroom – for example, listening to world music and thinking about the culture of other countries – or out and about, such as on a visit to a museum or gallery.

Arts, mental health and emotional skills

Arts education is an important tool in improving mental wellbeing. It can help children work through their problems and find ways of coping.
The arts can bring shy children out of their shell, give non-verbal children the confidence to speak out, develop social skills and interact in a collaborative way, and help them to express themselves.
It also gives children an opportunity to shine!

Arts education: physical health and development 

The arts offer opportunities to be physically active, developing gross motor skills, stamina and agility through dance and drama, and fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination through drawing, painting, modelling or learning an instrument.

How Symondsbury School promote arts education

A cross-curriculum approach: arts can easily be explored in the context of other subjects – for example, listening to world music as part of geography lessons, or using drama to bring stories to life in English lessons.

Music initiatives such as the Dorset Music Service, which gives every pupil in Class 3 the chance to learn an instrument for one academic year.

National campaigns like Dahlicious Day, Sign to Sing which gives children the opportunity to be part of something with children from other schools.

Encouraging teacher training in arts subjects as part of their continuing professional development.

Inviting visiting artists, actors and musicians to lead assemblies or workshops with children.

Arranging arts-based field trips that tie in with class topic work, like visiting a gallery or museum, or going to see a play or concert. 

Celebrating Children's talents and work in the arts where we celebrate work in assemblies, talent shows, productions, assemblies etc.

Supporting arts education at home

Here are 10 ideas to support arts learning at home – and they don’t need to cost a fortune (or anything at all!).
1. Seek opportunities to engage in arts activities and events in your area: There are lots of free things happening in museums, libraries and local venues,
2. Make something: junk models made with the contents of the recycling box, clay creations, Hama beads, decorated biscuits (plain digestives work well), or jewellery.
3. Look online for how-to videos: many renowned children’s illustrators have YouTube tutorials teaching kids to draw or paint.
4. Consider instrument lessons: within schools, these are usually paid for by parents but there are also music tutors who work out of school too.
5. Experiment with creating using different mediums and tools: painting with coffee, printing with potatoes or halved fruit, making papier mache, finger painting.
6. Change your radio station: listen to Classic FM and other channels to expose your child to a wide range of genres.
7. Take advantage of after-school and extracurricular clubs: there may be an art club that your child could join, choir, art, junk modelling or dance.
8. Try a new creative hobby like photography (even if it’s just in your garden), stop-motion animation, designing clothes, or tie dye, or learning the ukulele.
9. Play creative family games such as Pictionary or Charades.
10. Get outdoors: the natural world is full of inspiration. You could listen to the sounds of nature and use them to inspire music compositions using actual instruments or improvised ones like pans and wooden spoons, or collect leaves, pinecones and seeds to create collages or try leaf-rubbing.
Get the children to teach you some of the things that they learn at Forest School!