Arts Integrated Education

Teaching Academics through the Arts

The arts invite the students to make an active and personal relationship with their learning. Therefore, ALL academics are introduced and explored first through the arts. Many traditional peoples have seen art as inseparable from life, saying, “We have no art, we just do everything as well as we can.” The original Native American languages had no separate words for art and music; these were just expressions of a culture of reverence. So too, Enki is an arts integrated education in which the arts are a part of all learning, as well as a study in their own right.

In our arts integrated education children weave cattails they have collected

In our Developmental Immersion-Mastery method, all academic content is introduced and first worked with through immersion in movement, story, music and visual arts. For example, in this arts integrated education, first grades might hear a story of the great king who gave “an equal share to every hand,” to bring them a lively understanding of division. The second grader might begin the study of the changing seasons by reciting the Pima poem, “The Black Snake Wind,” followed by a walk to see the spring winds cut a path through ice and snow, then painting what they have seen. A third grader understands measurement more fully as she hears stories of ancient kings, each making a ruler according to his own foot. The fourth grader learns the history and culture of her own country as she sings Black spirituals, joins in square dancing and learns Native American songs and dances. The fifth grader might begin botany class by recreating the harmony of nature in a Japanese flower arrangement. Whether studying math or history or science or anything else, Enki is a fully arts integrated education.

In the Middle School years students develop the themes studied in history, science and math into artistic, community-oriented projects. They may create a science fair, a renaissance fair or displays for a children’s museum. They may write a book of short stories or together create a “novel” or an art show describing and illustrating other times and places.

In the High School, our arts integrated education continues. However, now the arts are an expression of the student’s experience and understanding, rather than part of introduction and immersion. Having researched and studied academic areas, students write and illustrate journals. This work is expanded into artistic projects when appropriate. As well, separate art classes, which explore a variety of media and may or may not relate to the subjects studied, are part of the High School.