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Let’s get creative

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By Jay Mathewseducational consultant and author of Literacy Goes MADD, a combined literacy and arts programme for Foundation, Key Stages 1 and 2

Can dance really help to improve writing standards? Can reading prose and poetry actually inspire music? Jay Mathews believes that linking creative subjects to core literacy teaching can not only improve children’s reading and writing, it can also improve their behaviour

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No one is oblivious to the importance of reading and writing at a young age: the phonics debate has been raging in the media for quite some time; the focus of interest arising from any newly published performance tables is usually on achievement in reading; and literacy is a core topic in teacher training.

It’s a different story, though, for the creative subjects of music, art, dance and drama (MADD). In recent years, little time has been dedicated to preparing teachers to teach these creative subjects and as a result they have all too often been neglected in the time-pressured primary school environment. More recently, however, the creative subjects have come to the fore, and their importance is being recognised once again.

Why is creativity important?

In the days before every child had one (or even several) games consoles and their own dedicated TV channels, children used their imaginations to a greater extent. Today, too many children lack the opportunity to explore and experience their own adventures and have to rely on visual stimulation which, while being vibrant, limits a person’s ability and inclination to create their own world.

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