Learning through arts 'better for children'
The director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre has called for more creative arts to be used in education.
Professor Pat Dolan said new research showed children who learned through creative means had a better grasp of science and maths.
The research, carried out at NUI Galway, looked at an innovative three-year project, BEAST!, developed and operated by Baboró International Arts Festival for Children in Galway.
It found that learning through the arts builds confidence, encourages critical reflection and creative thinking and provides a powerful base for teamwork, problem solving and future development.
"Apart from the research we did with BEAST!, the education system overall, primary and post-primary, is still too orientated towards academic achievement. We've learned so much about brain development in children, but we need to push forward with this," said Prof Dolan.
"The development of education through creativity and the arts should be given equal attention as learning through reading writing and mathematics. We know educating through the arts offers children an excellent way of learning."
Prof Dolan said it was imperative the Department of Education "enable and enhance" learning through the arts, especially for students in need of support.
He said this had been proved to work. The project used the arts as a teaching method to achieve a higher profile for science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.