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Principal of Clarence Valley Anglican School, Karin Lisle. Image: Contributed

Connection between Art and Wellbeing in Schools

Student wellbeing has become a focus of educators as there continues to be an increase in mental health issues over recent years in schools that effect all aspects of schooling for students.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 virus there are growing concerns that students are not developing resilience and that the beginnings of lifelong mental health issues, including heightened levels of stress, are being found in younger and younger students. Although Visual Arts has been sidelined over the years when students aim for high marks in the HSC, the active participation of students in the field of Visual Arts has long been accepted to have positive effects on a student’s wellbeing, which then flows onto inspiring and motivating students in all areas of schooling.

Art has long been a vehicle to provide students with positive emotions as well as opening students up to creative expression and imagination. Through targeted research and brain imaging it has been discovered that art reduces levels of cortisol that are known to be markers of stress, and that art can induce a positive mental state in students. This can in turn increase not only creative thinking but higher academic performance.

Researchers have discovered that Art teaches students to problem-solve and to increase decision-making skills. “Creativity also promotes identity development, helping students find their ‘place’ in the world.” An understanding of the world is developed within an art program as well as providing students with the tools to create positive relationships, connections to others and to the environment, to developing positive achievements and nurturing positive emotions. This in itself has a positive impact on student mental health and overall wellbeing.

 

For more information, contact Clarence Valley Anglican School on 02 6642 2011.

 

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