Embracing art education in primary schools

An early introduction to Art & Design helps learners develop positive attitudes to creative thinking and creative subjects, which benefits future learning. The subject encourages them to celebrate their own and others’ artistic experiences. This builds a sense of community in the classroom from an early age and fosters an openness to diversity as they experience art and design from different times and cultures.

This blog, written by our Curriculum Development Manager, Lloyd Jeeves, details what the research says about studying art & design as a subject and the benefits of our Cambridge Primary Art & Design curriculum in nurturing young minds, supporting inclusion, and building life-long skills.

What does the research say?

Research has shown that art education in primary schools plays a valuable role in a child’s development.

Studies also show that the cultivation of arts subjects creates the necessary balance to enhance performance in other learning areas that require more intense cerebral activity and are seen as more important. According to art historian, Amy Herman, art improves problem-solving skills, helping us discover why and how things go wrong and how to fix them.

Limitless opportunities through Cambridge Primary Art & Design

The Cambridge Primary Art & Design curriculum was created to give learners the space to explore and express themselves freely, supporting the development of social and reflective skills, and encouraging teachers to nurture an environment where learners can take risks and build resilience.

Art and design nurtures creativity in young minds, which supports them in solving problems in other Cambridge Primary subjects, including English, Mathematics, Science, Global Perspectives, and Computing. Art develops concentration skills and perseverance – as children explore different tools and materials, mastering their use to create beautiful objects and designs. These are important skills, necessary to excel in all other subjects.

Since its inception, Cambridge Primary Art & Design was envisaged to create ‘limitless opportunities’, which describes the range of individual and collaborative opportunities we want every learner to be able to identify and explore.

Developing creativity and supporting inclusion through art

Expression through art aids emotional development as learners develop skills such as perseverance and collaboration. They are better equipped to deal with criticism positively as they give, receive, and respond to feedback.

Art & Design also provides a platform for all learners to communicate and express themselves, which especially aids learners who find communication and interaction challenging, including learners with autism.

The focus on experimental learning allows learners to develop and challenge their motor skills in ways that are appropriate to their physical abilities.  The subject also supports those with visual impairments to touch and manipulate materials with different textures and properties, thereby providing a wide range of sensory opportunities. This has created a safe, supportive, and inclusive space for learners to experiment and develop.

Art in building life-long skills

Cambridge Primary Art & Design provides opportunities for learners to experience and respond to art and design produced for commercial purposes. Art has a place in day-to-day life which learners get to experience as they see its use in architecture and decoration. This leads them to appreciate the commercial benefit of art, further amplifying its practicality and financial benefit to artists and the broader economy. If they choose to pursue art later in life, they are better equipped to create value from it.

To best support this invaluable development, it’s important to engage children in art – both at home and at school – and to continue with their creative experience throughout their schooling.

Find out more about our Cambridge Primary Art & Design curriculum

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Lloyd Jeeves
By Lloyd Jeeves

Lloyd Jeeves, Curriculum Development Manager. Lloyd is responsible for Art & Design, Computing and IT related subjects. He has has a deep interest in creative subjects and is keen to promote the educational and broader social benefits that digital technology provide. He has recently developed the new Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary Computing curriculum, and its supporting resources. Lloyd has also developed a range of other Computing related resources, including training and teaching guides, to cover topics such as programming, artificial intelligence, automation and safety and wellbeing within the digital world. He has previously worked on similar developments for Art & Design and Digital Literacy. Before joining Cambridge International, Lloyd worked for OCR where he researched images for inclusion in assessment materials, managed copyright permissions and supported learners who were switching from one UK awarding organisation to another between their AS and their A Level. Lloyd is a graduate in English Literature and Environmental Studies.

View all posts by Lloyd Jeeves