Principles and Values Statement
Created on 11/08/06
The arts permeate all aspects of human existence, and are particularly important in the lives of children. The arts are personally satisfying and empowering.
The arts are essential elements of the curriculum. They are inseparable from any the rest of the curriculum. They are essential to the development of every child, giving wings to the imagination, expression to a spectrum of emotions, and facilitating higher-level thinking. As integral as they are, they stand alone and apart from other disciplines. We believe all children can and will be successful in and through the arts at Baker.
The arts transform lives and permit transcendence of human circumstances. “Without art, life would be a mistake.” –Nietzsche
The goal of arts education at Baker is for every child to find the artist within himself/herself, and to learn to act independently as an artist.
Children are natural artists and we strive to nurture and cultivate the natural artist within. The arts are born of play, spontaneity, and the imagination. At the same time, core knowledge and a vocabulary for the arts develop through and provide myriad pathways to learning for students. The teaching of the arts as a career is not a goal, though it might be an outcome.
“It has taken me a lifetime to learn how to paint like a child.”—Picasso
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”—Picasso
The arts are of unusual if not unique importance at Baker.
The arts set Baker apart from other schools. The arts teachers at Baker are part of the “All School Team,” and the only teachers who teach children of all teams and ages. The arts are a part of every child’s curriculum at every grade level, beyond the purview of the arts teachers. In addition to study of art, music, and drama, there is an emphasis on storytelling throughout the grades, and at least one storyteller practitioner on the faculty. Baker provides a home for visiting artists in a kind of mutual mentorship.
The arts are process driven, not product driven.
The products of the arts have great value, but it is the creative process itself that gives students the capacity for replication and growth. Expressions of art (products) are individually valued and assessed, and are not ranked or rated competitively. The arts require careful planning and preparation, as true creativity is born of boundaries and structures.
The best teachers of the arts are both educators and practitioners.
Arts teacher-practitioners are themselves repositories of highly specialized information for students and colleagues, practitioners of a specialty in the arts, and master teachers in the spirit of Baker Demonstration School’s core values.
Authentic art requires risk taking.
In arts education, children must feel safe to take risks. Social justice is at the foundation of our teaching. Teacher-practitioners are facilitators of art-making and art “appreciation” rather than entertainers.
The arts are communal.
The arts are a celebration and an expression of the individual within the context of human existence—a dialogue and an expression of relationships. Art is intended to be shared, and art elicits emotional and intellectual responses. The artist bears responsibility for his/her art. The arts are often collaborative, requiring a grand conversation between collaborators. Such collaboration is horizontal rather than vertical, and often born of healthy conflict (see risk-taking). Collaboration is synergistic and outcomes are not known until the end of the process. The goal of collaboration addresses an essential question or big idea. Though equals, collaborators come to the table with unique experiences, schema, expertise, knowledge (diversity)
We acknowledge, respect and value the unique expertise and child-knowledge of our colleague classroom teachers. They create and lead smaller communities with whom we are invited to share. We cannot do our work without them.
We acknowledge, respect and value the unique expertise and child-knowledge of our team members on the All School Team, including, the Spanish, physical education, technology, library, student services, and extended care teachers. We view our mutual dialogue and collaboration as essential to any individual success we may experience.