Following the recent report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on the crisis in the Humanities entitled “The Heart of the Matter,” I have seen quite a few insightful commentaries, most stressing economic utility — how the humanities help students succeed in whatever endeavor they pursue — and some stressing how the humanities contribute to making students better citizens in a democracy.
In my definition, the humanities not only include literature of both ancient and modern languages, the performing arts, philosophy, comparative religion, and cultural studies, but also history, anthropology, and linguistics, although the latter three are often on the border between humanities and the social sciences.
What follows are my own reasons to study the humanities, with a particular focus on the arts. My reasons balance utility with more idealistic quality of life issues. Thus I want to stress both the isness and doesness of the humanities, which in fact is a version of the Horatian credo of delighting and instructing.
On the utility or doesness side, I would stress the value of learning to think critically and independently, read powerfully and perceptively, write lucidly and precisely, and speak articulately.
On the quality of life or isness side, I would stress that the arts take us into imagined worlds created by different minds and enable us to understand how others live. We are what we read, the museums we visit and the performances we see and hear. They are as much us — part of our memories, our isness — as the culture we inherit and the life experiences we have.
That entry into other worlds and minds does give us a larger context for thinking about how to live and how to confront and understand present personal and historic issues, even while also giving us pleasure for its own sake.
Art, they say, is a visual expression of human creativity or imagination.
The benefits of art for kids are numerous and priceless. Art class for kids helps them improve their problem-solving skills and enhances their creativity, thinking ability and gross-motor skills.
Art is vital to the development of the minds of children. It also helps kids learn better in all disciplines. Some other significant benefits of arts for kids are
- Art enhances creativity
- Art helps a child acquire the ability to be innovative and think critically to create or discover things of value.
- Art helps children to understand the world around them and express themselves appropriately.
- Art helps kids connect and build relationships with others
- Art helps children to learn how to write. Toddlers scribble randomly on the paper. The more they scribble, the more they gain control of the crayon or pencil and its movement on the paper.
Children are naturally curious. From the minute they gain control of their limbs, they work to put themselves out into the world to see how it all works. They explore, observe and imitate, trying to figure out how things operate and how to control themselves and their environments. This unrestricted exploration helps children form connections in their brain, it helps them learn—and it’s also fun.
Art is a natural activity to support this free play in children. The freedom to manipulate different materials in an organic and unstructured way allows for exploration and experimentation. These artistic endeavors and self-directed explorations are not only fun, but educational as well. Art Online Classes allows youth to practice a wide range of skills that are useful not only for life, but also for learning.
Talk with your child about their art work. It’s often hard to decipher a child’s drawings, even though the child knows exactly what it is. When we ask, “What is it?” we are saying that it should look like something we’d recognize. Instead, ask open-ended questions like “Tell me about your picture.” You can also describe specific things your child is doing by saying things such as, “You’re making short lines, I see you are using red, green and blue.” You can also describe the actions your child is taking or the materials they are using by saying things such as, “You are using a soft paintbrush, I noticed you are making small circles, you are using two crayons at the same time!”