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March 28, 2023

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Arts are essential to curriculum at WISS

Can you imagine a world without art? No driving down the highway with the windows down and the music blaring. No staying up all hours of the night binge-watching your favorite television series. No visits to the art gallery to take in your favorite artists. No one to create movies, music, or paint. This doesn’t sound like a very stimulating environment to me.

Some educational philosophies out there only emphasize the importance of academic studies and that art is simply a hobby or something we do during our free time. Yes, the academic side of education is vital in the development of our youth, but so are the arts. A report by Americans for the arts states that students who frequently partake in the arts are four times more likely to be admired for their academic accomplishments than those students who don’t.

Through the arts, students develop the imagination to visualize a better future and the creativity to put that vision into motion. Educating students in the arts also inspires voice by celebrating students’ identities, empowering them as creators, and making choices regarding their learning.

Here at the Western International School of Shanghai, the arts are essential to our curriculum across our Early Years, Primary School and Secondary School. It is embedded in our daily teaching practices as one of the four pillars of our educational philosophy. Through the arts, our students build confidence, increase concentration, develop their social skills and gain an appreciation for diversity.

As educators, we endeavor to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to showcase their artistic skills at school and beyond our campus. Whether through a theater production, a music concert, or an art show, students at WISS can shine in their chosen art discipline.

Just recently, a group of Secondary School students put on a theater production of the renowned play “An Inspector Calls.” After watching the show twice, I was mesmerized by the skills I did not know these students possessed. The confidence they showed, the concentration of remembering their lines, and the collaboration that went into putting it all together were truly amazing to watch. All of this because of arts education.

Arts education here at WISS has brought a positive culture and climate to our school. All members of our school community demonstrate respect, equality, and compassion in their interactions and have built healthy relationships.

Indeed, a world without art is simply unimaginable.


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