DEFINING ARTS INTEGRATION
There are several definitions of Arts Integration, but the above seems to sum up the concept quickly and succinctly. Arts Integration is not art for art’s sake, nor is it meant to replace traditional arts education.
Arts Integration is a teaching practice that integrates both art and non-art (for example, chemistry, trigonometry, history, literature) into the content of the classroom experience to enrich learning, excite and motivate students, and provide a well-rounded education. Researchers and neuroscientists continue to provide validation and data that supports the merit of arts integrated teaching techniques.
Other states, such as California, Texas and Arizona, have been making leaps and bounds in arts integration across their state. Some use the term, Arts Infusion, and it’s worth noting that this is synonymous with Arts Integration.
New Jersey is a leader in arts education in our country. At the state and regional level, there are many groups—including the NJ Department of Education, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, NJ Arts Education Partnership, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, Monmouth Arts and more—who meet regularly (and passionately!) to discuss arts education and arts integration in our state. This group has begun work on an Arts Integration User Guide for New Jersey Educators and Practitioners to help schools and districts with a step-by-step guide on how to introduce arts integration into their curricula. It doesn’t have to be a major leap but can be something that is discussed, planned and “integrated” over a span of time.
School leaders should know that state and regional organizations, like those mentioned above and more, are here to help them! Please email our Arts Education and Events Manager, Vinny Martini, or call Monmouth Arts if you have any questions and would like to discuss Arts Integration further.
Photo Courtesy of the Friendship Train Foundation
What is STEAM?
STEAM is a type of Arts Integration and is also a separate learning strategy in itself, employed by a growing number of educational systems, organizations and individuals to enhance student learning.
The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is widely credited with forging the
STEM to STEAM movement, placing Art & Design in the mix of integrative learning.
Several schools in Monmouth County are beginning to include STEAM programming within schools and during after school hours. There are organizations, such as the Friendship Train Foundation, that partner with schools and other groups to bring STEAM programming to new communities.
On a national, state and local level, STEAM is a positive, growing trend that is meant to strengthen problem solving, creativity and innovation, mathematic skills, scientific concepts and overall learning in our collective youth.
Friendship Train Foundation
The Friendship Train Foundation offers STEAMLabs, a new educational enrichment program available to schools, recreation departments and other organizations in Monmouth and northern Ocean counties.
STEAMLabs sparks children's interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) through a variety of exciting, hands-on enrichment activities that reinforce school learning. In these classes, children are encouraged to create, experiment, investigate, and collaborate in an informal, fun environment.
STEAMLabs fits into after school and recreation programs, school assemblies,
end-of-year activities and summer camps.
To learn more, visit My Steam Labs.
Photos Courtesy of the Friendship Train Foundation
“ARTS INTEGRATION IS A TEACHING STRATEGY IN WHICH THE ARTS ARE INTEGRATED WITH THE NON-ARTS CIRRICULUM TO DEEPEN STUDENTS' UNDERSTANDING OF BOTH"
-Isenberg and Jalongo, 2010, Werner and Freeman, 2001
For more information on Arts Integration, check out these resources: