Arts Education

Arts Education

Goals and Rationale

A strong arts education benefits all students, communities, and societies by contributing to the development of well-rounded, educated citizens. The arts connect students with history, heritage, culture, and community, fostering an understanding of the diverse values and perspectives of global, Indigenous, and Canadian societies. Arts education also stimulates students’ imaginations, innovation, creativity, and sense of well-being while developing competencies useful to their education and careers.

Encouraging a sense of wonder, curiosity, and engagement with the arts is an integral part of becoming an educated citizen. Through the arts, students’ interests and talents are fostered in a variety of ways of knowing, understanding, and doing. Students learn to co-operate, overcome challenges, find innovative approaches, appreciate differences, and negotiate with others. Such exploration allows students to be creative, gain competency with materials, and develop high-level thinking skills.

The B.C. Arts Education curriculum is designed to enable students to explore the world through an artistic lens and to express their ideas, opinions, beliefs, and emotions. The curriculum also connects strongly with the values expressed in the First Peoples Principles of Learning. Students are guided in developing artistic abilities in four core disciplines: dance, drama, music, and visual arts. While each is unique and of equal importance, the four disciplines naturally work together to enhance students’ intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth. All students have the capability and potential to create and engage in the arts and to develop individual strengths and capacities.

The Arts Education curriculum is founded on the artistic habits of mind – explore and create, reason and reflect, communicate and document, and connect and expand. All are lifelong and transferable knowledge and skills. Students investigate artistic elements, processes, and techniques using a range of materials, tools, and environments, and they learn to honour and respect cultural protocols. Students also develop creative ways to communicate emotions, thoughts, meanings, and concepts through the arts, and they learn to respond to knowledge and perspectives that are embedded in language, movement, memory, image, symbol, and story.

Each of the four core art disciplines offers students opportunities to deepen their understanding of self, community, cultures (their own and others’), and the world. And, through exposure to all of the arts, students build a greater understanding in all areas of learning and have the chance to apply their knowledge and worldviews in different contexts. The Arts Education curriculum provides an essential way for all students to express and understand meaning, while also challenging them to engage in dynamic ways of creating, thinking, and problem solving.


The B.C. Arts Education curriculum contributes to students’ development as educated citizens through the achievement of the following goals. Students are expected to:

  • develop aesthetically through the core disciplines of dance, drama, music, and visual arts, as well as through interdisciplinary forms
  • investigate artistic elements and processes through the artistic habits of mind – explore and create, reason and reflect, communicate and document, and connect and expand – to understand connections between the arts and human experience
  • create and respond to works of art using inquiry, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to deepen their awareness of self, others, and the world
  • recognize the value of a variety of cultural perspectives and explore contemporary and historical art forms from their own identity and cultural heritage, as well as those of others
  • pursue a lifelong interest in the arts and gain the confidence to create and contribute to the local/national/global art community as an individual and/or group