Why the Arts Are an Essential Part of a STEM/STEAM Curriculum

Traditionally, when speaking of a STEM/STEAM education, many people only discuss the main pillars of the curriculum: science, technology, engineering, and math. However, there has been a push in recent years to transition STEM to STEAM - adding to the acronym an “A” to represent the arts.

While STEM education has always incorporated arts into the curriculum, the push to change the acronym highlights the importance that arts education has on a child’s personal and academic development. Research has increasingly emphasized the benefits of an arts education - below, we summarize some of the primary benefits that art instruction has on students in STEM/STEAM schools.

Why are the arts important?

When arts education is mentioned, most people think of painting, drawing, or playing an instrument, but arts instruction is about much more than just expressive arts. It also includes subjects like history, social studies, and language arts, all of which are essential facets of a STEM/STEAM education. Together, a comprehensive arts education program develops critical skills of communication, innovation, and creativity.

Expressive arts, which can come in many forms including sculpture, painting, and music, are also an important component to academic success and achievement of higher learning skills.

The importance of the arts to a STEM/STEAM education

Art classes aren’t just a way for children to be creative - they are also integral to developing students’ higher learning skills. A program that incorporates the arts into the curriculum has been proven to increase creativity, improve academic performance, increase motor skills, enhance visual learning, and boost higher decision-making skills.

Increase creativity

By allowing children to explore their expressive side through the arts, they are able to expand their creative thinking skills, which are necessary to solve complex engineering, science, and math problems. These creative thinking skills teach your child to think outside of the box and to explore different, non-traditional paths to a solution.

Improve academic performance

According to a report by Americans for the Arts, children who engage in arts, as defined by being immersed in art activity three hours per day for a minimum of three days a week, are four times more likely to excel in academic achievement when compared to those children who don’t.

Increase motor skills

When engaging in expressive and creative arts, children develop better hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. What physical exercise does for large motor skills, art activities can do for the more intricate and fine motor skills necessary in all aspects of life, from handwriting to wiring robotics.

Enhance visual learning

Children who are introduced to different art mediums, such as sculpture and three-dimensional exploration, are better able to make sense of visual information. According to the Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University, visual learning is just as important as auditory, and is iis a skill that not all children develop without expressive art instruction.

Boost higher decision-making skills

Being allowed to explore the creative side of the brain through the arts enables children to make decisions for themselves about how to interpret and communicate their ideas. The arts are are an essential component to enhance a child’s ability to make decisisions and express them articulately

The arts at Stratford School

At Stratford School, we believe that arts are a necessary addition to a child’s education. From preschool through high school, aspects of social studies, language arts, and creative arts are incorporated into our STEAM curriculum Students at Stratford School will reap the many benefits of including arts education in daily instruction. To learn more about Stratford School’s innovative STEAM curriculum, schedule a tour of your local school today.