Value of Creative Arts in The Primary Classroom

SAVED BY THE BELL Hunched over books and worksheets, she flips the page unwillingly. Fighting to keep her soul alive Within th...


Hunched over books and worksheets,
she flips the page unwillingly.
Fighting to keep her soul alive
Within these four walls of misery.

Gazing back and forth at the clock
she craves for the moment when
the school bell rings and she’s out the door
to where her soul began.

The stage is her oyster, her body the pearl,
moving through space and time.
The unforced rhythms of each move she makes
begins to take over her mind.

She reaches out to catch the air,
and pulls it close to her chest.
She’s filled with life from head to toe,
but it’s also the first sign of rest.

Breaking out of her worn out shell,
lyrical emotions displayed with each step.
Creating memories through being present,
Forever in dance’s debt.

She stops the music and takes a breath,
looks in the mirror and smiles.
Her long school days may be ahead of her,
But she knows she’ll be dancing for a while.

‘Saved by the Bell’ tells the story of a girl who is trapped by the repetitive and mundane nature of the school system. The only thing this girl looks forward to is her dance class after school, where clarity of the mind occurs through the flow and movement of her body.
Ken Robinson’s TED Talk on how schools kill creativity has deepened my interest in assessing the value of creative arts in schools. The overcrowded curriculum that is fixated on standardised testing leaves little room for imaginative and creative exploration in the classroom. 


I will never forget the time when
Mr B brought his keyboard to class.
He told us making something into a song
Can help us remember fast.

I didn’t believe him at first
because we started singing about math.
But it didn’t take long for me to realise,
 Learning fractions isn’t that bad!

That was the day I fell in love with music,
and the day I begged mum for a piano.
I took lessons straight away and soon enough,
my passion started to grow.

The colourful sounds of expression
makes my senses come alive.
My fingers were free to wander,
each touch was beauty divine.

Without realising, my body sways to the melody
as I am transported to another place.
The glistening tones of the keys,
surrounds me with a warm embrace.

I believe there was a seed in me all along,
waiting to be watered and fed full.
I guess all it took was a teacher who knew,
that music is a powerful tool.

'The Musician’s Muse’ follows the girl’s journey of discovering her love for music. Her Math teacher believed that music is a powerful tool that has the potential to engage students in remembering certain concepts. The seed of potential was in her all along, but it was the exposure of music within the classroom that enabled the seed to blossom into a lifelong passion. 


There’s something special about her.
The other students notice it too.
 Last week she drew waves in her book
and coloured them in shades of blue.

Today she was drawing patterns and shapes,
and asked me whether she could paint.
I said “why not” and she spent her lunch
 adding colour to an artwork so quaint.

It was during this time when she told me,
that art is her form of escape.
It’s how she learns to understand herself,
and knows the others can’t relate.

I began to observe the technique she used,
Each stroke so delicate and pure.
Her sophisticated use of colour
left me drawn to her artwork’s allure.

She said art is an expression of her thoughts,
And often reflects how she feels.
 Last week she lost her grandpa,
And that’s where I got the chills.

She showed her grief through shades of blue,
but today she added colour by choice.
I’m sure she knows now that I value her work
because expression doesn’t need a voice.

‘Louder Than Words’ was inspired by a girl from my kindergarten class during Professional Experience who had a flare for drawing intricate patterns within her shapes and had great attention to the use of colour. She has a sweet and quirky personality, and usually played with her older brother and his friends during lunchtime. Each time I complimented her drawings, her face would light up and she would always share about what each pattern represented. Young children need adults who facilitate and celebrate their creative expression as well as to accept their uniqueness. 


She would rather hide behind closed doors
than release her energy in the playground.
If there are big groups or crowds,
she’s nowhere to be found.

Drama was her least favourite subject
as she always feels the need to shy away.
But deep down she longs for courage,
To make her voice known and know what to say.

Like a caterpillar not knowing its potential,
she hesitates to turn wishes into reality.
Through it all, the teacher showed patience
whilst encouraging and believing in her dream.

Slowly but surely metamorphosis occurred
and she began to project her voice.
 She learned to embrace and own the moment,
and rise above the noise.

Her performance is shaped and moulded,
By the constant exposure of well done-s
A wave of confidence floods over her,
her jar of fears reduced to none.

She aims to be someone’s muse,
her story unravelled, her boldness revealed.
A butterfly that learnt to spread its wings
and can now live a life unconcealed.

‘Walk Before You Fly’ is based on my experience as a child. Having completed most of primary school in Singapore, with an education system that focused heavily on academics, I was never exposed to drama in school. There were about 40 students in a class, and I was shy and often chose not to speak up when given the chance. It was not till I moved to Sydney in year 5 that I was exposed to dance and musical performances as well as speech and drama lessons. Schools should recognise the benefits of drama lessons as it undoubtedly promotes opportunities for students to express their voice and respond and give life to fictional scenarios, events, and problems. 

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  1. Are they your own poems? Really liked Louder than Words! Keep up the great work!