The arts are much more than just enjoyable activities for kids. Participation in the arts opens up children’s worlds and minds and offers them the skills they need for a bright future. Yet chances are your kids are not getting enough art, in or out of school.
If you ask almost any parent, they’ll say that arts education is very important to their child’s well being. That’s why it’s so surprising that the arts have been allowed to virtually disappear from our children’s learning experiences.
Benefits of Arts Education
The arts teach kids to be more tolerant and open and allow kids to express themselves creatively. The arts promote individuality, bolster self-confidence, and improve overall academic performance.
Moreover, the arts can help troubled youth, providing an alternative to delinquent behavior and truancy while encouraging an improved attitude towards school.
Studies show that arts education:
- builds a school climate of high expectation, discipline, and academic rigor that attracts businesses to your community.
- strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success.
- helps students develop a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting—skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
- can help troubled youth, offering another way for students to approach learning.
- provides opportunities for parental, community, and business involvement with schools, including arts and humanities organizations.
- encourages all students to develop more appreciation and understanding of the world around them.
- helps students develop a positive work ethic and pride in a job well done.
An impressive 89 percent of Americans believe that arts education is important enough to be taught in schools, but the sad truth is, your kids spend more time at their lockers than in arts classes. You can help bring back the arts to your schools.
Most states have already established arts education standards as important achievements for students in every grade. Start asking questions and learn where your local school district stands.
You can make sure arts education flourishes throughout the country. And you have more power than you know to create opportunities for kids to experience the arts. Find out about local, state, and national arts organizations and inquire about how to get involved with arts education issues.
Parents and concerned citizens like you are the most powerful supporters of arts education. Don’t wait to get involved.
Home-Based Arts Activities
In addition to advocating for and supporting a strong arts program in your school district, you can help your child enjoy the arts by participating together at home, taking advantage of your community’s cultural resources, or checking out resources online.
Here are a few great ways you can share the arts with your children at home:
- Teach your child songs and enjoy singing them together.
- Play different kinds of music from the radio or your own collection and encourage your child to enjoy singing and dancing along with it.
- A simple paper and pencil or crayon offers children the chance to express themselves—even a scribble is a good beginning. The important point is for them to feel encouraged and to develop the habit of writing and drawing. Their skill will improve as they naturally compare their work to other pictures and words they see around them. Drawing and writing together will help them see that you value those activities as well.
- Have pictures and books available for your children to enjoy and value. Your local library can be a terrific source of material at no cost to you.
- Seek out high-quality children’s programming that can stimulate your child’s imagination and expand her understanding of the many different art forms that exist. Public television is available with or without paying extra for cable and offers cultural programming for adults and children. If your child sees you valuing the arts, she will too.
- Practice photography using your phone. Talk to her about composing a photograph—what is included and what is cut out through the choice of the photographer? What are the elements of and their proportions in the photograph? Work together on creating family photo albums or other thematic collections.
- Make videos together. Try organizing the shots ahead of time to tell a story as in filmmaking.
- Read and write poems. Help your child feel the rhythm in poems you enjoy reading and enjoy the fun of writing together within an organized system of verse. If it is difficult to create your own rhythm, borrow the verse and rhythm structure of a poem you enjoy and make up new words to fit the poem’s structure.
Source: Americans for the Arts