Frills and other basics

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Columbus arts educator, author and all-around inspiration Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld shares more of her wisdom about raising happy, healthy, creative children:

It's time we talked about the ARTS, you know, those frivolous activities…first and easiest programs to cut from school offerings. Really, we can't test the Arts in any meaningful way, so too many folks think the Arts do not count for much.

I am here, on my soapbox, to say the Arts are our FIRST ways of learning, communication and creativity. Our cave ancestors, thousands and thousands of years ago, left their legacy of the Arts for us to try to fathom - fabulous paintings on cave walls, musical instruments, obvious stories, symbols and rituals. What is it in the human brain or heart that has inspired all peoples throughout the world and across time to want to, need to create visual images, stories, poems, music, dance, drama?

We have no concrete answers but we know this is a fact! The Arts have been part of all human experiences for eons. They are universal! They connect to all life areas.

Through the Arts, history has been told, geography has been celebrated on walls and canvases. Nature has been honored with sculptures, music, poetry. Every curriculum area is enriched with Arts integration. I think of the Arts as the connective tissue of the human spirit. Pull the Arts from daily life - imagine a world without color, music, theatre, dance, story!

The Arts are a deeper way of knowing. We can learn that the War of 1812 happened in 1812 but diaries, letters, sketches, songs created by those who lived that experience can teach us about this subject in a much more meaningful way. The Arts connect us to each other and to our deepest selves.

Best of all, our kids LOVE the Arts! No matter the school, it's the Arts that entice children to learn in magical ways. How dare we even think of minimizing the importance of the Arts in our lives?

This new period of resolutions (another New Year of promises), add a note to your list. Write: I will be a more articulate advocate of the Arts and their importance in the education of our children. I want my children to enjoy the delights of the Arts in their lives and I want the same for ALL of our children.

Our children and the ARTS need YOU! (and me!)

-Redleaf Press and the National Association for the Education of Young Children have just published "Still Teaching in the Key of Life," a 20th anniversary edition of Mimi's landmark book.