Sadly, this week, I was told that the Art class I run for disengaged students is no longer viable. Once again, short-term finances override the abundance of evidence that shows just how beneficial the arts are for well-being, focus, self-esteem and general happiness. It might have had something to do with not being able to measure the outcomes… or something like that..
The students I teach are not in school. They don’t fit into a highly organised, busy, structured environment. Some fell away gently, and some in a high explosion of disruptive and violent behaviour. Some are very anxious and find life overwhelming. A couple of hours painting, drawing, sewing, printing, knitting, playing with colour, texture and form, has an immediate effect. There is calm. There is gentleness and conversation begins to flow.
When we work with our hands and create something from nothing, we have feelings of joy. How I long for a day when the happiness and well-being of students is valued as much as their ability to complete tests.