Maybe you’re highly artistic and thinking, “Finally, we’re getting to what’s important!” Or you may be highly analytical and not at all creative, and thinking, “OK, here’s where she starts talking about the areas that aren’t applicable to everyone.”
If you’re thinking the latter, then I have bad news for you. In the education of a child, creative and artistic endeavors are very important, regardless of your child’s natural gifting. Through a wealth of research, we know a lot about how music and the arts affect our learning. Because of this, we can’t ignore this area of education.
How the Arts Impact Academics
- If you have at least two years of an instrumental background, it not only prepares the brain to be successful for academic success but to be a contributing citizen in your community.
- In the visual arts, research has shown us how drawing supports writing skills, and how visualization training supports reading comprehension.
- In those with musical training, researchers found strong connections to spatial reasoning and math, and between instrument instruction and SAT scores.
- Dance instruction is connected to fluency in creative thinking and to reading skills.
- Drama in the form of dramatic enactment is connected to story comprehension, character understanding, and writing proficiency, and is shown to be a better way for students to process a story than teacher-led discussion.
- Multi-arts programs, as you might expect, have multiple connections: to reading, verbal, and math skills, and to creative thinking.
If you have a preschooler, you may wonder if it’s worth pursuing activities in the arts. You really don’t have any idea if your little one has any talent in music or art! To that I say this:
1. Regardless of what natural abilities he or she has, the study of music and art will be good for brain development and enhance overall learning.
2. If your child turns out to be completely left-brained – in which case you could say she doesn’t have a creative bone in her body! – knowledge and appreciation of the arts are still worthy goals to consider.
3. The pursuit of music or the arts is a great opportunity to teach your child discipline and grit. Grit? Read more about grit here.