Implementing an arts-integrated curriculum is a valuable opportunity for elementary school students due to arts’ ability to develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills in children. In elementary school, arts integration can find reflection in various forms, including achieving dual learning objectives, such as learning goals peculiar to performing and social or science studies (Zhou & Brown, 2018). As a teacher, I could apply this approach to facilitate children’s comprehension of basic concepts taught at science lessons with the help of movement, dancing, and theatre activities. In groups, children can be asked to create a dance or a brief theatrical performance to illustrate a journey through four seasons and use movement to express their associations with diverse weather phenomena. The same approach can be applied to solidify their understanding of trophic webs, butterflies’ life cycle, or similar concepts. Students can be encouraged to work in teams, including small multicultural groups, which will strengthen communication skills aside from improving knowledge through creative self-expression.
To continue on the rationale, theater and other art forms are conducive to children’s healthy social and emotional development. As collaborative art forms, they promote purposeful conversations in the classroom, requiring teams to make decisions regarding the ideas, form, and content of planned performances (Zhou & Brown, 2018). The necessity to develop and implement mutually agreed plans introduces young students to diverse skills they will need in the future. These competencies include distributing responsibility and roles within teams, leadership, activity planning, resolving interpersonal and intercultural conflicts, negotiating for the best possible solutions, and uniting with others towards a common goal. Considering the growing diversity in elementary schools, the conflict resolution and idea presentation aspects of team-based performances are particularly significant. Aside from creative expression, collective activities will encourage learning about other cultures and lifestyles by exchanging information regarding aesthetic preferences and the symbolic meanings of objects and ideas.
Zhou, M., & Brown, D. (Eds.). (2018). Arts integration in elementary curriculum (2nd ed.). Education Open Textbooks.