Arts education to be opened up to six-year-olds

Summary

Under a proposal from the education minister, children will be able to take part in all kinds of arts training from the age of six, including music and spoken word performance

Teachers in favour

Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits wants to make it possible for children from the age of six to choose from all study streams in part-time arts education. Children currently have to be at least eight to start studying spoken word and music. For dancing or visual arts, six-year-olds can already register in an arts academy.

With the responsible sector, Crevits is working on a new decree in which the general age of access would become six by the 2018-2019 school year. She will present her proposal this school year to the Flemish government and the Flemish Parliament.

From 1 September 2018, a six-year-old would be able to choose a specific study in music, spoken word art, dance or visual art in an arts academy. This would mean that children could start learning how to play an instrument at an academy from the age of six.

Arts academies could also choose to organise an inter-domain initiation study for six- and seven-year-olds, so that children can try different study streams and make a well-considered choice when they are eight.

Two weeks ago, Flemish MP Ann Brusseel of Open Vld presented the results of an online survey among 569 people on the subject, which showed that a large majority of teachers, directors and users of part-time arts education felt children should start lessons earlier.

Photo: Philippe Put/Flickr