The mission of Hanover County Schools' visual arts program is to engage students in thinking creatively and solving problems in order to communicate visually in the 21st century. The universal language of art allows students to make connections and comprehend themes of expression around the world, past and present.

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Students Learn Creative Thinking Skills

At Cool Spring Elementary, students in kindergarten through fifth grade have art class for 45 minutes once per week. Art education helps children to stretch their creative boundaries and use critical thinking in all areas of their lives. When children practice thinking creatively and divergently in order to complete an art assignment, they begin to apply this practice in other areas of their life, becoming better problem solvers.

Visual Language

The visual language is universal, so there is no barrier to prevent children from understanding something that was created outside of their familiar culture. They can also visualize what life was like before their time and understand concepts and ideas that are/were important to different cultures over time. When students have adequate experience with art and view pieces from other cultures, they gain knowledge about the artist and culture in which it was created. Art students can then use that knowledge to gain an understanding of the lives, feelings, and interests of their peers by looking at and talking about the art they make. 

Benefits All Students

One more very important aspect of art education is the variety of ways in which it can benefit both gifted children as well as children with special needs. In art, even though we might assign the same task to all of our students, they all end up producing unique projects. The differentiation that is possible in art class is boundless, and students at all levels can succeed, even if they ordinarily have difficulty in other classes. In addition, many artistic processes are conducive to the way in which special needs students learn, which can help them express emotions that would otherwise be difficult for them to portray.

Students Gain Valuable Knowledge

Art helps children to gain valuable knowledge about themselves, their cultures, and the world surrounding them. Creating art heightens children’s sensitivity to the physical world and allows a vehicle to express emotional and imaginary states of mind. Art students can learn through experience and create work of their own that is relevant and meaningful. It is of utmost importance to give children a positive art education experience so they can embrace their inner creativity in whatever unique form it may take. Once this happens, children can learn to apply this creative thinking to all aspects of life, making the world a more interesting and innovative place. 

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