Ask young kids what they want to be when they grow up and you will receive answers like, movie star, singer, or rock star. Although most children change their “career” decisions many times, exposure to the arts can help them determine the future course of their education. Yet, in this time of significant funding cuts in education, the loss of instruction in the arts has become a real possibility, if not already a reality in many school districts. Some people may think that the teaching of music and art is frivolous, but it really isn’t. Research studies have documented the benefits of including these “extras” in helping our young learners to become our thinkers and doers of tomorrow.
James S. Catterall in his book, Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Social and Academic Development presents the summaries of more than 60 studies that demonstrate the transfer of learning through the arts. This book presents the effects that the various art forms have on literacy, math and science as well as the impact on student motivation and social competency.
Consider the following findings:
- Learning music can help with spatial reasoning. This helps us comprehend the words we hear and read and improves our ability to plan just about everything.
- Drama helps by providing a positive effect on narrative understanding, reading and writing skills, and also dealing with conflict.
- Drawing contributes to organization and writing skills.
If your school district if forced to eliminate any of the arts programs due to funding, you, as the ultimate teacher can step in and enrich your child either at home or through after school or weekend programs in your area. You will not only be helping your child educationally, you may also be helping them on the road to career it the arts.