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Investing in the Arts


The far-reaching benefits of arts education



August 2013

Thoughts of back to school often have parents also contemplating the best way to fill all of those after school hours. While our education system is hard at work preparing young minds for the intellectual demands of the world, there is so much more that goes into the education of the whole child. For those parents seeking a way to introduce fine arts into their child's life, here are five reasons why that is a very good idea:

1. Children learn positive habits, behaviors and attitudes through the arts.

Learning a musical instrument, creating a painting, learning to dance, or singing in a chorus teaches that taking small steps, practicing to get better at something, being persistent, and being patient, even in the face of adversity, are important for growth and improvement. In other words, the arts teach habits, behaviors and attitudes that are necessary for success in any field of endeavor.

2. The arts enhance creativity

Imagine an art class in which students create an original canvas filled with color and creative use of space; a music class where they develop their own rhythms; a theater class where they create and produce their own plays. The arts are a wonderful arena for fostering creativity, an important skill to have in a rapidly changing world.

3. The arts help students develop critical intellectual skills.

The arts foster critical higher levels of thinking that carry over to learning other subjects and in life. Through the arts, children learn to observe (What do you see in a painting?), interpret (How should we play this music?); see different perspectives (What is the artist's perspective? What is your perspective?), analyze (Let's take apart this play and study each part separately.) and synthesize (How do all the parts of the dance fit together to create a "whole"?).

4. The arts help students learn mathematics.

The arts require measurement, number manipulation, and proportional thinking, all of which foster mathematical thinking. Students also learn patterns (e.g. musical rhythms and dance patterns); spatial and geometric relationships (visual art patterns); and three-dimensional skills (making models of clay).

5. The arts teach teamwork! Children learn tolerance and understanding of others.

Through the arts, children learn how to work together to achieve great things. As they work together, they learn to understand differences and diversity. They learn how teamwork contributes to great performance. By teaching students how to live and work together, the arts contribute to making schools safer and more peaceful learning environments.

List adapted from: Seif (May 5, 2012). Teaching the Arts is Critical [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.era3learning.org/blogs/ten-reasons-why-teaching.html


Tags: Enrichment, In This Issue

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