Being nosy, I often ask the kids who come to my classes if they are having art lessons at school and what they are learning. It has been over 3 years since I left my teaching post and there are still things that I miss, the noise, the routine of the school day, being surrounded by children, inspiring them to learn and seeing their progress. Part of my job was to support children with SEN or children with difficult home lives and art allowed us to build strong relationships and trust. Their time with me in the art room became a window in their weekly timetable where they could be free and be themselves in a non threatening environment. I got to know the real them and saw progress week on week.
I wonder how much art is being taught in school now? Back then, it was in the decline but now I fear that schools will fall into 1 of 2 categories. Will schools push art completely into the sidelines as they try to catch up on all the school hours lost, or will they recognise that children can use art as a means to come to terms with being back at a ‘different’ school and that they may still be suffering trauma and distress from the events of lockdown? It depends on the views of management and what goals they see as being most important in their school.
I do hope there is a balance. I hope that there are still teachers out there who value art in the curriculum and use it as a tool for self expression and confidence building as well as a support for other areas of the curriculum. Our children deserve it and our children need it now more than ever. 🎨👣