Over the past several years we’ve seen a trend in schools cutting the arts from their curriculum. Yet the arts help kids learn and grow. Here’s how:
1. Improved academic performance
A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
2. Motor skills
Simple things like holding a paintbrush and scribbling with a crayon are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors.
For example, getting up on a stage and singing gives kids a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.
4. Visual learning
Drawing, painting and sculpting in art class helps develop visual-spatial skills. Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University, says children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.
5. Decision making
The arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. How do I express this feeling through my dance? How should I play this character? Learning how to make choices and decisions will certainly carry over into their education and other parts of life.
Visit K12.com to see how we incorporate the arts into our online curriculum.
Lauren Martin is a Writer for Learning Liftoff, published by K12, Inc. Previously, she has written for nonprofits as well as marketing agencies. She's covered environmental issues, women's rights, world poverty, and animal rights. With a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Ithaca College, Lauren enjoys interviewing families about their experiences with online education.