Manchester International School takes pride in creating a nurturing environment that fosters creativity and artistry, inspiring students to pursue their artistic passions. The Art and Design Department attracts students with a natural inclination towards art, and the Visual Arts Program, beginning from Kindergarten, provides a platform for students to express their ideas and thoughts while connecting with the world around them. Through this program, students experiment with different mediums, such as digital art, and engage in a vast range of projects, including clay animals and origami. Students' artwork is displayed in their respective classes throughout the year, culminating in an Action Day event where students exhibit their works of art.
The Visual Arts Program offers a balanced approach to learning, engaging students in art-making activities, art history, critique, and reflection. The program aims to develop students' creativity, encouraging them to plan their ideas before working through the design and creative process to complete a work of art. The creative process and finished works are documented in each student's art book, providing an opportunity for students to track their progress.
The Visual Arts curriculum allows students to explore fine art styles, techniques, and crafts from different cultures. Arts field trips and projects aligned with PYP units enhance the curriculum. The Arts Collaboration for each grade involves all Arts Specialists and encourages creativity to flourish through visual art, music, dance, and drama. Here are the top ten ways that the arts help children discover and develop essential qualities they will need as adults:
Creativity: The arts allow children to express themselves better than math or science. Children are asked to speak a talk in multiple ways, create a memory-representing painting, or write a new rhythm to enhance a musical piece. Practicing creative thinking now will come naturally to them in the future.
Improved Academic Performance: The skills children learn through the arts spill over into academic achievement. Children who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair, or to win an award for writing than children who do not participate.
Motor Skills: Holding a paintbrush and doodling with a pastel are crucial elements in developing a child's fine motor skills. Drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors are developing milestones for children around age 3. By around age 4, children can draw a square and start cutting straight lines with scissors.
Confidence: Participating in the arts provides children with a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their progress, their self-esteem will grow.
Visual Learning: Drawing, painting, and sculpting in art class help develop visual-spatial skills, especially for young children. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information and how to make decisions based on it.
Decision Making: The arts improve problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Learning how to make choices and decisions will carry over into other aspects of life and education.
Willpower: The arts can be challenging, and hard work and perseverance pay off. This mindset will matter as children grow, especially throughout their career where they will likely be asked to continuously develop new skills and overcome difficult tasks.
Focus: As children persevere through painting, singing, or learning a part in a play, focus is crucial. Focus is also important for studying and learning in class and doing a job later in life.
Collaboration: Many arts such as band, choir, and theater require children to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise to achieve their common goal. Children learn that their contribution to the group is essential to its success, even if they do not have the solo or lead role.
Accountability: Children in the arts learn that they are accountable for their contributions to the team. If they make a mistake, they know that it is important to take responsibility for what they did. Learning to accept, fix, and move on from mistakes will serve children well as they grow older.