EVEN BEFORE WE START TO WALK, WE DANCE. We sing even as we attempt to talk. The first sounds we make are shaped into words through playful repetition, and all the world is a drum for us to hear the rhythm of the planet.

We clumsily hold a crayon and scrawl our personal mark on time.  We walk around in our mother’s slippers so we might better understand her and our relationship. The beginning of empathy and compassion is forged in the pretend social play of childhood. Play is the precursor and defining feature of all art-making. Every human is an arts maker. We are all born as creatives so we can begin to understand and then shape the world in which we live. Our connection to the arts sits at the heart of our shared humanity. We all know instinctively that when the world is in a mess, the arts are there for us.  When we were very little we used them to learn, to develop relationships, to begin defining who we are and who we might become.  It is no wonder then that as schools reopen we should turn to the arts to nourish ourselves.

This section of Te Rito Toi provides some further reading and materials to consider the role and the place of the arts and well being as the centre of the return to schools.

-Professor Peter O’Connor, University of Auckland

Keep making art that counts

Ten lessons the arts teach by Elliot Eisner

Resilience Rights and Respectful Relationships

Building Resilience in Children and Young People

Headlands, Shining a Light on Anxiety

Squiggla – Creative Thinking through the power of mark making