Traditional education in our school systems has focused primarily on preparing students for college and entering the workforce. The result of this trajectory has left a gap in our educational goals that denies students a deep understanding of the self and how to navigate in the world.

 

As children we learn basic life lessons, values, and preparedness for adulthood especially from our caregivers. However, it is the sector of education that can play a major role in rebirthing society to a primary goal of learning how to live, rather than how to make a living.

 

In the greatest sense of the word, we humans are all “artists” creating our lives with every choice we make. These choices direct our paths: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is to our best interest to become more conscious of how our thoughts, words, and actions impact our way of being in the world either positively or “negatively.” It is important for children as they grow to build a strong foundation of the self to gain an understanding of how to make optimal decisions for their lives. This approach in learning honors the whole child, as no other learning will seem to make sense or have meaning unless a student first “knows thyself.”

 

The process of art-making and the use of expressive arts in a therapeutic capacity is a valuable means of helping youth to access and process strong feelings, which are often difficult to express verbally. Also, journaling, movement, music, drama, drawing, etc, are all expressive arts modalities that strengthen an inward journey of self-discovery. The emphasis in this direction is on the insight gained from art-making, rather than attention to artistic skills.

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© 2017 by Lissa Masters