Not too long ago, due to national budget cuts and a growing focus on testing in math, science, and language arts, many school districts were compelled to drastically cut back on their arts programming and, in some cases, completely abandon certain aspects of their arts curriculum.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, school administrators, students, parents, and the general public still saw the arts as nothing more than an extracurricular activity, which hurt the arts.
Thankfully, as research continues to demonstrate benefits for children's academic performance as well as behavioral, social, and emotional improvements, support for the arts is rebounding in education. Research continues to prove education in, and participation in the fine arts are crucial components of the educational experience.
In the following article, we will explain further why elementary students and middle schoolers should participate in fine arts education.
Elementary and Middle Schoolers Should Participate in Fine Arts
According to many studies, students who participate in the arts do better in math, reading, and writing. Students who study music score better in math, according to a meta-analysis of 62 studies conducted by the Arts Education Partnership. The improvement of verbal SAT scores was also observed, as were reading and cognitive growth.
The Connection Between Arts Education and Academic Achievement
The same study demonstrates advanced reading skills and more organized writing in students with exposure to fine arts. Students also exhibit a greater capacity for higher-order thinking abilities like analyzing and problem-solving.
The Connection Between Arts Education and Behavior
The advantages of being involved in fine art classes go beyond the classroom. Numerous studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of the arts on student behavior and school climate.
A 2010 Missouri study discovered a positive correlation between reduced discipline offenses and art studies. Less reported behavioral issues occurred in school districts with a higher proportion of students enrolled in art classes. In schools with strong arts programs, the overall suspension rate was significantly lower, especially for suspensions lasting ten days or more.
Studies have also shown student attendance is better, and the dropout rates are lower in schools with a high population of student involvement in art education classes.
The Connection Between Arts Education and Emotional Development
Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Students who participate in fine arts classes have been known to have improved emotional expression. These students also have an understanding of complex emotional issues.
Students who take dance classes have been found to have higher levels of positive self-expression and self-confidence, which contributes to their increased sense of self-esteem.
The Connection Between Arts Education and Social Development
As we are educating our students, we must consider the importance of developing the next generation of leaders and citizens. The core goal should be a well-rounded education that prepares and protects the next generation.
Learning through the fine arts fosters motivation, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure, creativity, social harmony, and an appreciation for diversity. These are the fundamental threads that make up our American culture.
According to the Arts Education Partnership’s meta-analysis, theater classes particularly helped students get a better grasp of social interactions. Students with fine arts education are typically more concerned with other people’s feelings and are in tune with how other people are feeling, and tend to be more empathetic.
Reported Findings from Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (Fiske, 1999)
- Fine arts classes transform the classroom into a place of discovery. This frequently rekindles a student's enthusiasm for learning who has grown weary of being in a traditional classroom.
- Through unconventional means and techniques, the arts can reach students who aren’t normally reached through conventional education classes.
- The arts provide students of all levels an atmosphere to be challenged in a positive environment.
- Students interact more with one another, which increases peer support and reduces altercations.
- Students of lower socioeconomic status are positively impacted as much or more than students of higher socioeconomic status. Twenty-one percent of low socioeconomic status students who had studied music scored higher in math versus just eleven percent of those who had not.
- Students desire to be independent self-learners instead of merely a storehouse for information obtained from a lecture.
Emmanuel Lutheran School
Emmanuel Lutheran School understands the importance of incorporating fine arts into the education curriculum. It is clear through research the short-term and long-term benefits of having a successful arts program.
Students show favorable progress in their academic performance and behavior over the short term, and students acquire vital abilities that enhance their capacity to read, write, and communicate clearly throughout their lives in the long term. Early involvement in the arts also increases the likelihood that students will graduate from college, land a decent job, and become contributing citizens.
At Emmanuel Lutheran School, we believe in providing the tools needed to help equip our students to succeed in their academic pursuits and to become productive members of the church and society. If you live in the area and are looking for a school for your child, enrolling them in a private Christian school is one of the best choices you can make to improve their school experience.
Emmanuel Lutheran School is the only Christian parochial school in western North Carolina that uses a S.T.E.A.M.-based curriculum. That means your child will have a high-quality academic experience, including fine arts, in a Christian setting.
For additional information about our private Christian school, contact us today.