Over recent years, the nation’s educational focus has swung heavily towards Maths and the Sciences. There are understandable reasons for this, in terms not only of the skills they develop and resulting career opportunities, but also because of the inherent importance of these subjects in understanding the world around us and exploring the many unanswered questions about life, the universe and everything.
They should not, however, come at a cost to education in the Arts, which, despite the neglect of successive governments, is a crucial aspect of the development of any child and, moreover, should be a crucial part of everyone’s lives. I shudder to think what the world would look like without the Arts, and yet government education strategy seems comfortable to sideline them – a real travesty.
A creative education brings so much and its benefits are legion. It fosters our curiosity and imagination, inviting us to see the world in different ways and from different perspectives, something that has never been more important; it cultivates a sense of expression as we are invited, indeed forced to find our own voices, something too many young people find hard; by giving us our voice and by providing opportunity for calm focus, it strengthens resilience and demonstrably improves wellbeing, hence its wide use in therapy; furthermore, it brings us together in collaborative work and in glorious, joyful celebration; and it is hard and gritty work, both requiring and developing our power of enquiry and perseverance to overcome problems. The picture says it all!
This week we have been taking part in a national art project, ‘The Big Draw’. The theme this year is ‘A Climate of Change’ and we are making origami cranes from recycled paper. The hope is that every member of our School, both pupils and staff, will make their own crane and write on it their pledge for the environment. These majestic birds, with wingspans of over seven feet, are at risk of extinction across the world as a result of our hunting and our destruction of their habitat. Of the 15 species of crane, 11 are classified as endangered, the most acute being the whooping crane in North America, of which only 600 individuals are believed to remain (this figure includes birds held in captivity). The physical outcome of our communal project will be a massive installation of cranes, which we hope to hang in the foyer of the Medburn Centre and will look incredible. Better still, will be the real outcome, that sense of communal activity, creativity and expression, with a focus on a hugely important issue and a constant reminder whenever we see it of a time when we created something together and spoke as one.
If you have any time over the weekend, please become a part of the Habs ‘Climate of Change’ Installation. Community is at the heart of this installation, so do find a moment to create your own personal artwork, and don’t forget to write on your pledges. All photos of family efforts will be most welcome!