Part I: (What I know)
When thinking about something that is important to me in education I automatically thought about what I have enjoyed through out all of my years in schooling. Art has been something that I have enjoyed since I was a little girl and still enjoy today. Ever since I was little and walked into a toy store the first section I ended up at was the arts and crafts section. I always wanted to buy things like the paint set or the bracelet making kit. As I started to grow up I lost touch with art and focused most of my time on dancing. Now looking back I realize I didn’t “give up” on art but instead of using my hands to create art I was using my feet. Whether it was an art class or dance class the creative arts have always been a very important part of my life. I decided for the I-Search project to focus on the arts in elementary education. What I know about this topic is that art and music are always the first classes to be cut from a school and the teachers who teach those subjects are always the first people to also be cut from the school. I also know that art is not an actual subject and just an elective. I started college as an Art Education major and since the program is so small I didn’t make it in. I have had to change my major as a junior. At first this was devastating but I have found many positives in my new major, which is Elementary Education. Just like the arts and those teachers being cut from schools, I have felt the same disappointments within the world of art and this is why I want to learn more about it.
Part II: (What I don’t know)
There are many things I do not know about art education in schools. I know the basics that they are the first to disappear because people don’t believe they are as important as subjects like math, writing, reading, history and science. I completely disagree, art is an amazing way to be creative, a different type of learning, and is a way to let out and show emotions. I don’t know why so many people are against art and music. I don’t know why people want to get rid of it so fast. I also don’t know why it is not an actual subject within a student’s day. Art is something that an elementary takes sometimes only once a week and I believe that is not nearly enough. I don’t know why art is not encouraged in school. I also don’t know why art teachers are so limited and looked down upon.
Part III: (What I want to know / burning questions)
I want to know the reasons why art education is the first to be cut. I want to know why art teachers are the first to be cut. I want to know why art is allowed to be cut from schools, especially elementary schools. I want to research if art was ever its own subject in a classroom and when it became an elective. I want to learn about the two different views on art education. I want to know what people believe the positive and negatives are for art to be a small or big part of a student’s education. I also want to compare public school to a private school called Waldorf, which has many schools around the country. The reason I want to bring Waldorf to be a part of this is because the Waldorf schools focus a huge amount of their curriculum on art education. They incorporate the arts, music, drama, and imagination in all aspects of learning with every subject. I want to see the benefits and differences in children’s education in public school and at Waldorf schools. Since I am a strong believer in the importance of art in a child’s education I believe it is a shame that it is automatically the first aspect of education that is taken away. I want to look deeper into the issue and see the reasons, what it was like in the past, the differences in education with and without it and to find reasons why it truly art is so important for a child’s education. Some of the burning questions that I earlier addressed are, “Why is art so important to stay in elementary schools?”, “Why and how should art be incorporated into everything an elementary teacher does?”, “What benefits does art have on children while learning and growing up?”