In danger of losing the ability to feel wonder

27th June 1997 at 01:00
Anne Crook's letter to David Blunkett (TES, June 13) upset me greatly. In it she lists subjects she calls "non-essential", which to me all seem of enormous importance. Among then is art.

Just how far out is art going to be pushed? As a primary arts specialist I am repeatedly appalled by the lack of value given to this vital area. It is natural human instinct to make marks and create images in response to the world, as the ancient cave dwellers and a baby making marks on a surface signify. Without art, we would have no buildings, no furniture, no design, no sensitivity, no soul.

How can she, as a special needs support teacher, say art is "non-essential"? It is these children who often so readily respond to creative work when they can respond to nothing else. And how can this creativity be divorced from literacy - the beauty; the rhythm and sensitivity of words, evoking images and imaginative thought? I despair of the lack of "soul" in some children and adults, many of whom have lost, or never found, the ability to look, feel wonder, or appreciate beauty.

JANE BOWER Advisory teacher of the arts 27 Primary Court Chesterton Cambridge

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