educational impact

How Arts Education Can Improve Critical Thinking Skills

“Critical thinking is a desire to think, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order, and hatred for every kind of impostor.” ~ Francis Bacon, Philosopher ~

When someone mentions “creative abilities,” what often comes to mind is the insight to develop the next million-dollar idea or the ability to draw a beautiful landscape from their imagination. However, creativity stretches far beyond that. Research has found that if a child can engage in an arts education program at a young age, the same muscles used to develop critical thinking skills are exercised, such as thoughtful reasoning and reflective decision making. Thereby creating solid foundational skills that are beneficial educationally and professionally. [1]


Critical thinking requires one to analyze and interpret abstract concepts and tie them into a broader thought.

Being told to write a specific biography with an exact word count can constrain a student’s creativity from conception. On the other hand, being introduced to art in an academic setting allows them the space to brainstorm creative ideas with far fewer limitations. This freedom gives children the opportunity to activate their broader thinking skills and enhance critical thinking abilities. In essence, “thinking outside the box.” [2]

As the nation starts to reawaken, plans are being prepared for summer activities and the coming school year. There is critical focus on our children’s social-emotional wellness as educators struggle to bridge academic gaps throughout the country, but most profoundly in under-resourced communities. Arts education is being called upon to support these educational goals.


Art teaches you how to observe.

Educating children in art simultaneously teaches them how to stop for a moment and take in what they are seeing. Art teaches patience and quiet-thinking. Whether observing the curvature and shine of an apple, they are to sketch or take a step back to view their paint strokes on canvas. This type of artistic observation promotes greater focus in children, both inside and outside of school.

Additionally, a school can be fast-paced with many different projects, exams, and assignments on a student’s schedule. This intensity can be overwhelming and, at times, negatively impact students’ ability to slow down and focus. Art programs can serve as an excellent way for students to unwind from academic stress while still developing their critical thinking abilities.


Art can be found everywhere.

Understanding art and its application to everyday life is the basis of forming critical thinking skills. Whether you are a doctor figuring out a difficult diagnosis or an athlete creating a fantastic, game-winning play, creativity and critical thinking are necessary skills in any career. Through art, children will learn to connect ideas and concepts, observe and interpret multiple theories, and ultimately become strong and creative critical thinkers. Instituting arts education programs as a component of the learning process is key to forming the basis for these essential life skills.

Learn more about how you can support arts education here.