“We must make art the base of education. Until man is not used to beauty, he cannot reach the level of spiritual freedom he needs to perceive what is good and what is beautiful. No education is more efficient or profound than what we can learn from contact with beauty and perfection” (Jiménez Fraud, A. (1971): Historia de la Universidad Española. Alianza Editorial, Madrid).
In the word of the Spanish Krausist art historian Manuel Bartolomé Cossío, the aesthetically trained man continually seeks the ideal of beauty, an ideal that reaches its peak when he is able to make his lifestyle and society into a work of art through culture. As he defines, art does not just mean aesthetic sensitivity, joyous contemplation, but is also an instrument that can improve both human beings and society.
Nowadays, the fifty leading centres that belong to the Best Schools in Spain educational network consider the arts to be a key factor in providing a well-rounded education to all our students. In the classroom, the function of art is contemplated as a catalyst to shape free, critical and sensitive people that are committed to the problems the world presents. It is undeniably a common objective and principle in all our schools. Appreciating the various manifestations of culture is also a vaccine against intolerance and helps build citizenship.
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The benefits of artistic education
Even though artistic education was neglected in schools for years, even today it is relegated to extracurricular activities in some centres. At the Best Schools in Spain, we consider that the arts and culture offer fundamental benefits to both younger and older students, so much so that artistic education holds the important position it deserves in all stages of schooling.
The Best Schools in Spain consider artistic activity to be a focal point of their curriculums. They understand that teaching the arts is fundamental in transforming the human dimension, allowing people to develop fully and integrally. Moreover, it is an excellent way to get to know the “other” through their different forms of artistic expression.
We work on the arts with students in a variety of projects that are beneficial for the development of the sensory, cognitive and motor systems, as well as communication skills, as they express ideas, thoughts and emotions, whether through plastic art activities, music, games or dance. Artistic education is encouraged naturally from a very young age, as a pleasant activity that children enjoy while also learning.
In our schools, we focus on promoting skills and knowledge related to art and culture in our students, as they enrich their academic and personal growth. Below, we present some of the benefits of artistic education at the Best Schools in Spain:
- Artistic education strengthens cognitive abilities and encourages students to develop skills such as creativity, entrepreneurship, critical thinking or curiosity for several areas of knowledge and culture.
- It generates interest in learning and flexible thinking.
- It stimulates communication skills.
- It encourages teamwork, thereby helping students to make progress in aspects such as respect, tolerance, social interaction and the importance of collaborating with their classmates.
- It establishes students’ ability to interiorize and reflect on the experiences and knowledge they have acquired, as well as to think more deeply about their perception of the world that surrounds them.
- It helps students understand problems from different perspectives, which improves problem solving and decision-making processes with deeper analysis and more imagination.
- It helps students to build their personality, as younger and older children get to know themselves better through art and can express their world and feelings in classroom projects
Teaching the arts at the Best Schools in Spain
Our students develop artistic experiences that give them a leading role in their own learning. At school, not only are “creative” spaces encouraged, but also “thinking” spaces to reflect on the relationships founded thanks to artistic experience and interpret their meaning. Furthermore, in our educational centres we highlight the uniqueness of each and every one of our students, capable of creating and recreating their own existence and recognising their social dimension through the arts.
As expressed by doctor D’Arcy Hayman, distinguished North American writer and painter, “to be alive is to be aware, active, sensitive, curious, productive, adventurous, concerned, involved. Art intensifies the state of aliveness” by extending this awareness of the world we live in.
For all of the Best Schools in Spain, teaching the arts is a vehicle to strengthen abstract and critical thinking, which helps our students find answers to their everyday problems and develops awareness and tolerance. Through artistic learning, our students acquire skills and abilities that prepare them to take on academic and personal challenges with greater strength, critical thinking and creativity.