This article is written by Neve Spicer, Founder & Director of WeTheParents.org.
There’s something to be said for the kind of learning that happens outside of books. It engages kids in a different way, fully grasping their senses and drawing them into the process of creating, refining, and developing their own skills and ideas. It’s not tough to see why arts education leaves so many children feeling so inspired, though it’s a little harder to parse why schools are so eager to leave the powerful benefits of arts education behind.
Across the country, arts education programs are facing severe cuts. Allotments of time and funding leave teachers and parents holding the bag when it comes to providing supplies. Meanwhile, our kids are missing out on a lot of the remarkable benefits these programs could be offering if they were receiving the full backing and endorsement that they deserve!
National Arts in Education Week takes place this September 13-19, and a central focus of their mission is emphatic advocacy regarding the importance of arts education programs in schools. The event encourages teachers, parents, and students to participate in community and virtual art events, and their website even provides a convenient partner packet with guidelines for creating an associated event.
Even these few key benefits make it clear that arts ed has a home in our schools:
- Studies have correlated time spent in arts education with a reduction of depression, anxiety, and stress as well as an increase in overall feelings of positivity and well-being
- Hands-on study of the arts that includes the use of new tools and techniques has been shown to improve both gross and fine motor skills, boost hand-eye coordination abilities, and increase the confidence children feel when trying out new equipment
- Academically, time spent studying arts is associated with a greater likelihood of academic recognition and lower dropout rate; study of the theater is specifically associated with vocabulary expansion and improved use of words
And these merely scratch the surface. This summary from We The Parents is loaded with talking points and ammo for any interested advocate.