There are many benefits of arts education for kids – from the improved language development, reading comprehension and non-verbal communication to enhanced problem-solving and collaborative skills, increased confidence and better test scores.
Experts agree that an arts education is about more than just teaching music and theater to kids. It’s about teaching skills and traits – such as dedication, accountability, receiving constructive criticism and being able to persevere and focus – that will, in turn, help them in their other classes and last a lifetime.
With that in mind, to help Nassau County and Suffolk County parents find private music and theater classes for kids on Long Island, Your Local Kids offers parents an Education and Enrichment Guide that lists a wide variety of classes and activities in the arts – from acting and drama to singing, music and dance classes – in both Nassau and Suffolk.
Numerous studies have proven the correlation between drama and music involvement and higher academic achievement. For example:
- “A small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons” was found in a study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, as published in a 2004 issue of Psychological Science.
- Students – in a study led by Ellen Winner, professor of psychology at Boston College, and Gottfried Schlaug, professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School – who underwent 15 months of weekly music instruction and practice showed improved sound discrimination and fine motor tasks, and “brain imaging showed changes to the networks in the brain associated with those abilities,” according to the Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research.
- “Students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts,” according to a study by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, published in 2007.
In addition, according to the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, drama students outperform non-arts peers on SAT tests, as compared to their peers with no arts coursework or involvement.
It’s clear from this data that the arts are a crucial element in children’s education and development, and whether parents are able to get their children involved in music and theater and other audio and visual arts in school or outside of school, their children will benefit academically and socially.
So how do parents get their children involved in the arts? Here are some simple steps to get started:
- Take notice of your children’s interests and foster them by signing them up for classes.
- Talk about art, whether it’s music or images or Broadway shows, and emphasize the significance of special pieces of art in your own home.
- Provide materials so they can create, draw, paint, dance, play and make music, put on plays, etc., depending on their specific creative interests.
- Be supportive and encourage their creative spark and ideas.
- Stimulate their interests by taking them to local museums, plays, musicals and performances, and art fairs.
- Support art education in your community.
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