My work and development as an art educator is built upon my desire to inspire confidence and individuality amongst my elementary students. I aim to foster a safe space of curiosity where fears and mistakes are welcome feelings and are embraced as part of the learning process—we call it “feeling the burn!” When we push through challenges, we come out stronger and more capable than ever. I want my students to feel comfortable making bold choices, uncertain of outcomes and excited anyway. 

Art education provides the means through which children can present, connect, and respond to information they experience and wonder about. As our culture is overwhelmingly visual, learning to see and learning how to apply what is seen in a creative process can help children uncover the ways they interpret prior and new knowledge. It is essential to maintain an empowering community that inspires students to share and challenge their own understandings. By providing different conceptual contexts from which students can raise and address questions, children become researchers in a community of inquirers. 

Art rooms are safe spaces that celebrate a plethora of creative processes, encourage curiosity, and validate self-expression, therefore it is important to cultivate a classroom that invites students to become an integral part of the teaching-learning process. If educators ensure students that they are listening to and learning with them, the art room becomes an empathetic and respectful environment. Children can develop a comprehensive awareness that people’s construction of knowledge is a collaborative process dictated by different learning experiences. 

An interdisciplinary student-centered curriculum provides a multi-faceted approach to art education. Using differentiated modes of teaching through inquiry-based methods, ensures validation of ever-changing thought-patterns and beliefs. Presenting flexible and relevant content in accordance with individual learning styles, strengthens critical thinking skills. These methods aid the transformation of youth as spectators into analytical participants in society. If students are given the appropriate guidance, they become increasingly prepared to enter an environment where they can manipulate and manage their roles as novel citizens of the world.