Arts and achievement go hand in hand.
by Melanie Gibbs
Funding for the arts is getting slimmer and slimmer. In March, President Donald Trump proposed a budget that would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a federal program that provides vital arts funding to nonprofits, schools and local and state governments. While it will continue to be funded until Dec. 8, the future of the NEA is uncertain.
There’s a reason why the NEA exists. Art isn’t just for artists, it’s for everybody. And the earlier kids engage in the arts, the better off they are.
A Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching study found that young artists are likely to read for pleasure nearly twice as often as their peers and perform community service more than four times as often. There are also links between increased participation in the arts and being recognized for academic achievement.
There is a real and measurable link between participation in the arts and success in academics. So why do many families miss the connection?
Let’s face it, “busy” doesn’t begin to describe today’s families. Between work, school and extracurriculars, there’s little time left over for a meal together, let alone those subjects thought of as inessentials. And sometimes, parents are unable to cover the cost or transportation involved with arts education outside of school.
Florida schools have been hit with deep spending cuts since the 2008 recession, and overworked teachers don’t get much time or resources to fill the gaps. Private schools frequently include visual and performing arts in their curriculum, but their higher tuition often proves prohibitive for many families.
There are many obstacles to making the arts a part of your child’s life, and yet research has proven that a student involved in the arts excels in school, period. So what’s a frazzled parent to do? Here are some ideas you can implement right now:
- Play classical music in The Mom Taxi. Your kids might fight it at first, but they’ll get used to this new normal. There is a proven link between music and math skills so don’t give up—you might even enjoy it yourself!
- Sign your child up for dance. Even one class per week can make a visible improvement in your son or daughter’s confidence and poise, and the benefits of physical activity for kids age 4-9 are widely acknowledged. Remember recess? Dance class is like recess in Fantasyland.
- Leave art supplies out and easily accessible in your home. Art time doesn’t need to be structured—just let your kids create the way they want, when they want. Dorothea Brande said “A child’s mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled.”
You don’t need a degree to help your own kids get to the graduation stage—just use these simple tips to make the arts part of their daily schedule. Then stand back and watch them shine!
This post was sponsored by Boca Dance Studio.
For more info visit BocaDanceStudio.com or call 561/391-8557.