Revised curriculum boosts arts in schools
Much like the heyday of the adult Festival of the Arts in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the various incarnations of children’s Festivals of the Arts have given Belizeans their first look at future stars of stage and screen. According to Leroy Green of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the effort continues to make art an accepted and respected part of the school curriculum beginning at primary school level. Later this year, a revised art curriculum designed by the Ministry of Education will be rolled out in schools. Green tells us that artists, artisans and musicians call upon specific and similar skills for their craft just as those in the language arts, social sciences, business and natural sciences do.
Leroy Green, Expressive Arts Curriculum Officer, Ministry of Education
“Most of the people that you see are the big-time Belizean artists right now, came up through this Festival of Arts: people like Tanya Carter, Cocono Boy, Ernestine Carballo, Kayla Arnold, they came up through this festival. But there is a correction where you say that art does not have much space in the schools: because actually, it’s prescribed by the Ministry of Education that in the primary schools, art should be taught for at least one hour every week. Now to attempt to rectify that situation, my time and I have just completed a revised curriculum in the arts which we hope will be rolled out in the schools [in] September, so that the teachers can really take it seriously. Then you also asked, what’s the importance of teaching art at this early age – we know that it’s down here that most learning takes place, [at] three [and up to] four. And art is a very important aspect of learning, not only for itself. Art, if you notice, is what keeps a culture alive and what records our culture and identity. And if the older artists die out and there are no young ones left to replace them, what will happen to the history of our culture? Also, art, when you look at it, employs the very same skills that is employed in the so-called academic subjects – because to listen to a piece of music and turn it into a dance, the teacher and the child have to apply the skill of analysis, interpretation, deciphering, application – the very same skills that are used in language arts.”
In the case of pre-schools there are regular workshops for educators to learn aspects of art to be applied to their charges.