Budget-cutting school systems always seem to first single out fine arts for elimination. While some may think of the arts as free-time activities that aren’t of real benefit to children’s “real world” lives, the fact of the matter is the arts are of enormous value to society and social development. Recent studies show that students who are active in the arts have higher SAT scores. They also score better on other forms of standardized testing. They achieve higher grades throughout school. They are more likely to attend and finish college.
From neighborhood music teachers to drum lessons in San Diego, to the numerous community arts efforts throughout the country, these lessons and programs offer vital developmental assistance to children’s social, behavioral, mental, physical, and emotional development. Participation in the arts encourages and enhances cognitive abilities, linguistic development, social skills maturation, and physical and emotional health. It stimulates and improves the function of various parts of the brain. It builds confidence and feelings of self-worth.
Involvement in music, for instance, improves spatial intelligence. This is the capacity to accurately perceive and cognize the world. Music benefits the aesthetic senses while also advancing mathematic and critical thinking abilities. Children involved in music score better in high math. They also show an improved interest in advanced subjects.
Music participation doesn’t require a child becoming an orchestra virtuoso. Local music teachers offer many of these benefits to a child. Parks and recreation, social, and church programs often give musical education opportunities. There are often beginner community orchestras.
The theater is a vital source of social interaction for children. It builds confidence and creative thinking. Children involved in neighborhood theaters or similar programs interact in more confident, assertive, and mature ways with peers. Theater-involved children read more and at a higher level.
Again, theater participation doesn’t require being a professional child actor. There are many local theater groups that specialize in children’s theater. Parks and recreation departments often have little theater workshops for children. Many civic organizations offer opportunities for children to take part in theatrical productions. Such events or programs are routinely announced in the local newspaper or on the Internet.
Piccaso held that children are natural artists. Developing that tendency into wider visual artistic expression often requires nothing more than some art supplies. Artistic children show advanced development in motor skills, spatial judgment, and other neurological facets to interaction.
There are all kinds of parks and recreation arts and crafts lessons available in most communities. Starting an arts and crafts program is as simple as networking with other parents. There are local businesses that specialize in arts and crafts.
Participation in all forms of the arts opens up a wider and richer world for all children. It encourages development of compassion and a greater understanding of the world. It helps children learn and respect themselves as well as other people. While axing arts education, humanity stands to lose far more than the small monetary gain made by eliminating them.