Why learning outside the classroom?

Creativity, culture & the arts

Culture enriches lives, and participation in creative and cultural activities can have a significant impact on young people, by developing their appreciation, their skills and helping them to learn.

This has been shown repeatedly in international studies, and has also been backed up by recent evaluations of major programmes such as Creative Partnerships and Museums’ Strategic Commissioning. What these evaluations have shown is that culture and the arts can help young people achieve all of the Every Child Matters outcomes.

Girl producing wall art - learning outside the classroom

Cultural activities also gives young people the chance to develop important life skills such as creativity

As well as being valuable and enjoyable in its own right, participation in cultural activities also gives young people the chance to develop important life skills such as creativity, confidence, self-discipline, effective communication and the ability to work in teams. These skills are particularly important in a world of rapid technological and social change where the cultural and creative industries are increasingly important to our economic future.

That is why a commitment was made in the Children’s Plan to work towards a position where all children and young people — no matter where they live or what their background — have the chance to participate in at least five hours of high-quality culture per week, in and out of school. The Find Your Talent programme looks at different ways of offering young people a range of cultural experiences.

The aim is to give young people the chance to develop as:

  • informed spectators (through attending top quality theatre and dance performances, world class exhibitions, galleries, museums and heritage sites)
  • participants and creators (through learning a musical instrument, playing and singing in ensembles, taking part in theatre and dance performances, producing artwork, making films and media art, or curating an exhibition).

Arts and cultural activities are also an important stimulus to develop young people’s creativity. Learning outside the classroom activities which give children and young people the opportunity to work on real-life challenges; handle risk; develop their capacity to think imaginatively and creatively; define and explore complex problems; use and adapt multiple resources both within their community and beyond in order to experiment and devise solutions to these problems — all of these experiences nurture the mix of thinking, imagining, facing the unknown and making things happen which are the ingredients of creativity.