Performing arts in the classroom as a pedagogical method
Let the show begin! Agora International School Madrid sets up its ‘big stage’ to continue rowing at the forefront of creative curriculum development and, from September 2021, we are implementing Performing Arts in the Primary curriculum. In our eternal quest to offer a bold approach to the development of children’s inner confidence, the power of words, imagination and the desire to have fun while learning. The Performing Arts used as a cross curricular resource in subjects such as Language or Maths, is a powerful learning tool that fosters skills such as oral, corporal or emotional expression, among others.
The school, which already has the International Baccalaureate in the Performing Arts, is now including the Performing Arts as a teaching method from an early age as a step forward in our firm belief in creative applications. “Children – as a school philosophy – should be guided towards creative applications of language learning and a re-encounter with literature. Among many other benefits, the Performing Arts offer a unique approach to teamwork, especially when preparing theatrical representations of literature. With songs and physical expression, they help children acquire better pronunciation and fluency in writing, reading and speaking.
Having mentioned the short-term benefits of art, broadly conceived, let us also emphasise how no other subject can give the child the possibility of unifying image and concept, sensation and thought. At the same time, art education achieves an instinctive knowledge of the laws of the universe and behaviour in harmony with nature.
None of this would be a reality without mentioning Nuria Sanchez, who is leading the design of the curriculum development and who has many years of experience, directing the Sing and Dance Project, and her many gigs involved in theatre productions around the world. Her professionalism and experience in the Performing Arts will make this new programme the highest quality programme for our primary school pupils. Nuria Sánchez, together with Víctor Ullate, lead as orchestra directors at Agora International School Madrid the only International Baccalaureate in Performing Arts in Spain, taught only at our school.
Literature, music, theatre… from a very young age
We start from the assumption that the general aim of education is to foster the growth of what is individual in each human being, while at the same time harmonising individuality with the organic unity of the social group to which that individual belongs.
Theatre and arts education is fundamental in this process, since the fundamental thing in it is to “subjectivise reality”. And it achieves this through various channels:
- Working with perception and sensation.
- The coordination of the different modes of perception and sensation with each other and with the environment.
- Feelings and emotions as internal searches that are projected in a communicable form.
- The integration of perception, sensations, feelings and emotions with reason and mental processes.
Therefore, it could be said that one cannot speak of global education in the human being, and specifically in childhood, if there is no contact with art.
Arts education improves the management of feelings, emotions and ways of perceiving reality and combines it with reason and mental processes. This is just one of the reasons why drama classes (or any other artistic branch) bring thousands of benefits to children.
It all starts at a young age
Aware of the importance of creativity as one of the most important skills for future workers in 2030, our pupils at Agora International School Madrid receive music classes from the first years of Infants, introducing them to the fundamental elements of the discipline. The Infant Programme, taught in English and with a unique focus, is based on Music Education and Art Education through a holistic programme, based on creative arts processes. In parallel, the children benefit from classes that will prepare them for our curricular violin programme.
In Primary, pupils have violin as part of the curriculum and in Secondary, they can choose between musical language and choir. In addition, we are fortunate to collaborate with the Fabordón Conservatory, giving pupils the opportunity to study Elementary Music and choose from over 20 instruments. Specifically, in the Primary Violin Programme, and the children have many opportunities to perform in public at the various events we plan throughout the school year.
Educating sensitivity, the best launching pad for the future
We can attest to the neuroscientific claims that Music Education uniquely benefits all other areas of learning and brain development. Our academic results are among the best in Spain, as our children learn to harness the commitment, discipline and appreciation for teamwork acquired through our Music Programme.
To educate sensitivity in childhood is to develop its capacity to symbolise, a primordial and unique task in order to be better as a species, but this requires a space and a time of life shared with others. Adding Performing Arts to our academic curriculum could not wait any longer, and it was a natural step, with much effort, that we considered necessary more than ever. Plato formulated a thesis many centuries ago that sums up our alma mater: art must be the basis of education.