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Week-at-a-Glance: Celebrating Arts Education

Week-at-a-Glance is a weekly message from Lois Rowe, Deputy Head and Director, Senior School. 

On June 6, 2019, the school will celebrate all that is ‘Creative Arts and Design Technology’, and I can’t wait! In a society that claims to put a high value on creativity, innovation, ingenuity, resilience, and persistence, little worth seems to be given to the fields of study whose core purpose requires that the development of these traits. In other words, it seems like we believe these attributes will simply appear when an individual needs them. Regrettably, this is not the case. For anyone who has spent time with someone who is a poster child for any of these descriptors, you soon come to learn that these attributes are learned and earned through deliberate and purposeful study.

There is no more effective place to learn, develop, refine and internalize all the attributes named above than in those pursuits that define the many forms of creative arts and design technology. Anyone who has tried to create or design knows that failure is almost a guaranteed element of the experience. It is so easy to pack it in and walk away saying “I am not an artist”, “I don’t speak Java”, “I could never be on stage”, “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket”, or “I don’t have any original ideas”. When the response to those statements is: “...not yet”, students who willing to try, to invest time and effort, and to find another way after discovering that one way was not such a great idea, know what it is truly like to feel a sense of accomplishment. They then find out that what they have learned is transferable to other areas of their lives.

The provincial curriculum requires schools to provide all students with learning experiences in ‘Arts Education’ and ‘Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies’. Even into the graduation program, students are required to complete 4 credits (one full-year course) in one of these areas. That does not sound like much; however, for some students, it is a requirement that holds them in these fields a little longer than in many parts of the world. With rising importance for other subject areas in terms of post-secondary applications, we are sad to learn of what is happening in some schools where senior courses in the arts and applied skills are collapsing due to reduced enrolment. Fortunately, this is not a CHS story. Here, because the learning that takes place in these subject areas is celebrated, students continue to know their worth. Further, because the school supports students pursuing these areas of interest throughout their senior school years, they know that any skill they develop in the early years can be honed in further study. This is the mission of the school and one that guides the high value we place on these elective courses.

In closing, the goal of this message is to celebrate the important place that the creative arts and design technology courses occupy in a CHS education. How lucky are the students to have skilled teachers and dedicated spaces to pursue these interests. The community is encouraged to come and honour our students for their persistence, resilience, creativity, innovation, and ingenuity. I hope to see everyone there.

Kind regards,

Lois Rowe