by Robert Schiappacasse, School Director
“Arts programs deepen students’ involvement in their own education,” and “access to the arts speaks directly to the quality of the educational experience students receive.”
These words sound like they were spoken by a Waldorf teacher, but they are from an uplifting editorial in The Boston Globe championing arts education and its myriad benefits — from boosting academic performance across the curriculum to improving student and family engagement in education, just to name a couple.
At WSL, as at any other Waldorf school in the world, education is arts-integrated. The visual and performing arts are a key component of the academic curriculum across the grades. Our students’ days are rich with music, painting, eurythmy, handwork, woodwork, class plays, and other artistic experiences.
It is heartening to hear such strong support for the arts in public education, especially in underserved communities with struggling schools. The Globe cites Orchard Gardens K–8 school in Roxbury, which has gone from one of the state’s lowest-performing schools to one of Boston’s best after implementing an arts program. The school even replaced security guards with art teachers!
In the embattled climate of educational debate, it is good news to hear that funding sources such as Turnaround Arts (an innovative public-private partnership), along with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, are giving disadvantaged students across the country increased access to arts education.
At Waldorf we know that the arts are an important and formative educational experience for all children. Recognizing the benefits of the arts for engaging underserved populations is a good step toward seeing its value for all children, in every school.