All of our students are creative and can create. To advance student achievement and well-being through public education, which motivates learners, fosters inclusion, inspires innovation and builds community, every student will receive an arts program based on the Ontario Curriculum.
Experiences in the arts – dance, drama, media arts, music, and the visual arts – play a valuable role in the education of all students. Through participation in the arts, students can develop their creativity; learn about their own identity; and develop self-awareness, self-confidence, and a sense of well-being. Since artistic activities involve intense engagement, students experience a sense of wonder and joy when learning through the arts, which can motivate them to participate more fully in cultural life and in other educational opportunities.
There are also many enrichment opportunities for students to enhance their Arts learning in the Arts.
How the Arts Benefit Students
- Nourishes and stimulates students’ creativity. Students develop and spark their creativity and imagination. The creative process teaches students to explore and express their creativity.
- Teaches students more about the world around them. Students experience a range of tools, techniques, and skills that help them gain insights into their world. They will be guided through the stages of the creative process by questioning, exploring other points of view and making informed judgements.
- Let students share their learning in different ways. Through the Arts, students can make their thinking seen and heard using different media.
- Enables students to connect with and share their identities. Through the Arts, students have an opportunity to express aspects of their identities in a safe, inclusive environment, while learning about and exploring other identities and cultures. Each person brings a particular cultural perspective and a unique personal history to experiences in the arts.
- Supports well-being. Through the Arts, students develop a sense of self-awareness, self-confidence and a sense of well-being. The engagement involved in creating provides experiences which promote a sense of wonder and joy.
There are four central ideas to learning, assessment and planning in the Arts as outlined in the Ontario Elementary Arts Curriculum. We call these the 'four big ideas'.
- developing aesthetic awareness
- using the creative process
- using problem-solving skills
- taking an innovative approach to a challenge
- manipulating elements and forms to convey or express thoughts, feelings, messages, or ideas through the arts
- using the critical analysis process
- constructing and analysing art works, with a focus on analysing and communicating the meaning of the work
- using new media and technology to produce art works and to convey thoughts, feelings, and ideas about art
- understanding cultural traditions and innovations
- constructing personal and cultural identity (developing a sense of self and a sense of the relationship between the self and others locally, nationally, and globally)
- making a commitment to equity and social justice and dealing with environmental issues
- making connections between the cognitive and affective domains (expressing thoughts and feelings when creating and responding to art works)
- creating and interpreting art works on their own and with others, and performing independently and in groups
- making connections between the arts and other disciplines (e.g., transferring knowledge, skills, and understanding to other disciplines)
What are Students Learning?
Arts Education engages students in rich and varied opportunities to learn in, through and about the Arts.
Students learn in the arts when: they learn experientially; use the creative process while developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of each arts discipline; artistic expression is a creative means of clarifying and restructuring personal experience; it affirms identities and upholds multiple world views; it includes students across the spectrum of ability, achievement, and interest.
Students learn through the arts when: studying works of art from various cultures; students deepen their appreciation of diverse perspectives and develop the ability to approach others with openness and flexibility; they use the arts to access and demonstrate learning in/from other subject areas.
Students learn about the arts when: they develop an understanding of the meaning and the literacies of art forms and artistic products; systemic barriers are removed and approaches for equitable and accessible services are identified; learning experiences focus on the critical analysis process; exploring historical and cultural contexts such as, but not limited to cultural appropriation.
Opportunities in the Arts
There are lots of arts enrichment opportunities for students to enhance their learning in the arts. Learn more about Arts Opportunities.