Art & Science: Creativity & Discipline
"All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree."
School budgets are driven by priorities (often handed down from political entities) that don't always seem comprehensive or even well thought out. It makes sense, then, that many parents find their kids in schools whose offerings are unbalanced. Perhaps your school has overcompensated in the direction of science at the expense of arts programs, which are left to infrequent specials classes or optional after school enrichment. Maybe your school has swung the pendulum towards humanities and arts in an effort to address this need at the expense of high quality science curriculum. Science curriculum in K-5 is sometimes an after thought, or is combined with humanities in a way that seems efficient but is in fact largely insufficient.
The creativity in art is critical to our kids' ability to access their creativity and imagination and bring it to bear on pursuits both recreational and practical. Kids are generally quick to engage imagination in situations where they feel safe. As they get older, however, those perceptions of safety (with regard to creative spaces) start to dwindle. Older teens can quickly lose their creative drive from peer pressure or other social norms. Arts education keeps this imaginative and creative drive alive and flourishing.
The discipline in science is critical to our kids' problem solving and rationalizing processes. Students must understand how to test an idea, persevere through many trials, and analyze the results without bias to arrive at a conclusion based on data and experience. They must understand this not just because they should know how to do it, but so that they will always demand this kind of rigor from those claiming to offer statements of fact.
Creativity and discipline: easy to say, but how do we squeeze all this in? Resources like time and money drive use to use our own creativity and discipline to give our kids what they need.
Here are just two of many thoughts about how you can combine art and science in your kids' education at home to either supplement or mitigate what is happening in your schools.
- Cooking - A boiled egg is a treasure trove of both science and art education. We have biology (birds and reptiles lay eggs, mammals don't); we have chemistry and physics (the liquid in the egg changes states, the salt in the water changes the boiling point, the water bubbles when it boils, etc); more physics (the egg won't spin when it's uncooked, but will spin when it is boiled); we have art concepts (shape, form, texture, color); we have a canvas (we can dye and decorate the egg); we have art history (Faberge eggs). All this just from boiling an egg.
- Painting - there are technologies and science topics in almost every part of painting. The mediums themselves are a study in creative technology over time - oils vs. acrylics vs. water color vs. pastels vs. crayons vs. pencils vs. mosaics; glues and how they work; canvas and why it's prepared the way it is; the materials and processes for making brushes and trowels; what color is (waveforms) and how they mix; and of course there are the many styles and ways to paint, and the history of this subject is obviously ripe for study.
Our instructors - Chrissy Cole and Connie Rodriguez - do an amazing job of this kind of integration of art and science. They can help give your kids the balanced education you want them to have.