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Introduction

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District fine arts curriculum is based on the state standards adopted by the State Board of Education in 2000. The curriculum includes the following components: movement/dance, drama, music, and the visual arts.

The curriculum is written based on the following beliefs:

  • All students are capable of participating in activities, including singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.
  • All students should develop artistic literacy, including a strong foundation and understanding of art history, art criticism, and aesthetics; and,
  • All students have the potential to meet the standards for the arts if given the opportunity.

The arts are unique in that they encourage and enhance academic achievements and talents while allowing open-ended, creative work. The arts require self-discipline, perseverance, and hard work. They help students build basic thinking skills and develop problem-posing and problem-solving abilities. Statistically, students involved in arts classes score higher on national examinations than students who are not involved in the arts. Furthermore, the arts promote skills necessary to the workplace, such as the ability to work with others and to manage time and resources. The arts illustrate the universality of creative expression. Cross-cultural understanding is often developed through the study of the arts. But most of all, the arts ask children to develop their own responses to questions. This requires the courage to act when the possibility of failure is quite real. In fact, the arts mimic life in that success may only be achieved after very long, sustained effort; practice and revision are seen as steps in the learning process.

Through experiences in dance, drama, music, and the visual arts, students discover their creative abilities. When students participate in the arts, they develop an inventive spirit, expand their critical thinking skills, become self disciplined, and learn to accept ambiguity or even failure as part of the learning process. They learn to see the whole and its parts simultaneously. The arts validate personal perception and intuition, foster imagination, and promote creativity while fulfilling spiritual needs. They allow students to engage in the discipline of the creative process and teach them to persevere until they achieve the pride of accomplishment.

The study of the arts is essential to a basic K-12 education. Civilizations are remembered by and through their arts: the richest and most far reaching expressions of human creativity, thought, and emotion.

Traditionally, art in many schools has been treated primarily as an enrichment activity, rather than as a substantive body of knowledge that requires study. A primary goal of education is to enable children to develop their minds and intellectual capabilities, using all forms of creative intelligence as means for achieving this goal. The expressions of thoughts and feelings take many forms. Verbal and written language are only two of the forms that communicate these expressions. Art, music, dance, and drama also communicate thoughts and feelings through visual forms, sounds, and movements.

For children to develop their mental capabilities and realize their fullest potential, they need to be exposed to many kinds of knowledge and to many ways of knowing their world and expressing their thoughts. If the development of some kinds of knowledge and ways of experiencing the world is neglected or ignored in school instruction, then a primary goal of education is only partially fulfilled.

All the arts - literary, performing, and visual - provide knowledge about the world and ways of experiencing it that contributes to an understanding that is unique and different from that gained through verbal and written language. The arts present artists' insights about personal experiences common to us all - experiences such as love, birth, death, and conflict. They also convey important social meanings. They might describe social values or conditions like patriotism or war. They can reflect certain needs of society, for instance, the need for functional buildings like skyscrapers. The arts' social and personal meanings go far beyond the enjoyment of beauty. Because the arts convey knowledge and meaning not learned through the study of other subjects, they deserve to be an integral part of every child's education.

This curriculum, developed with the disciplined based art education focus, is designed to provide a balanced, articulated, sequential instructional core which can be used to guide art learning. Furthermore, it is based on the following philosophical and operational concepts:

  1. The arts should be taught as disciplines to all students. This includes student involvement in creating, studying, and experiencing all of the arts.
  2. Regular instruction in the various arts must be a basic part of the curriculum in all elementary and secondary schools; such instruction must be integrated with the highest quality arts experiences in schools and in theaters, concert halls, and museums; such experiences must be integrated with instruction as part of a comprehensive curriculum.
  3. Arts curriculum should support the development of skills in and knowledge of the arts. In addition, learning about and experiencing the arts develops critical and creative thinking and perceptual abilities that extend to all areas of life. These benefits are best imparted through instruction in the basic skills in and knowledge of the arts.
  4. The arts relate naturally to much of the content of the total educational curriculum. For this reason, all teachers should be encouraged to incorporate arts skills and knowledge into their instruction in order to enliven, broaden, and enrich all learning.

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