The arts are enriched with the stuff kids need to succeed. Every day we are concerned with good nutrition for our children, but kids need to have their daily serving of the arts as well.
Studies show that involvement in the arts helps kids increase test scores and promotes academic achievement. Kids who are involved in the arts are:
Four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
Three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
Four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
Three times more likely to win an award for school attendance
Learning in the arts allows every child to develop the critical thinking, collaborative, and creative skills necessary to succeed in today’s ever-changing world.
Most of our local schools don’t provide classes in art, music, dance, and theater, however. Instead, our children are only offered these arts on a part-time basis.
So, what do we do to keep our children involved in the arts? The following is a great list of ideas to help empower parents and citizens to get more art into kids’ lives, both in and out of school (compiled by Americans for the Arts):
1. Participate: Sing, play music, read a book, dance, or draw with your child at home.
2. Support: Encourage your child to participate in creative outlets and celebrate their participation in arts activities both in their school and the community.
3. Go Read: Visit your local library and read “the classics” together—from Mother Goose to Walt Whitman.
4. Speak Up: Attend a school board or PTO meeting and voice your support for adequately funded arts education programs as part of the school’s budget. Brush up on arts education before hand by visiting www.artsedsearch.org.
5. Take The Lead: Tell your child’s teacher or principal about how vital the arts are to quality education. Ask them what they need and how you can help!
6. Think Local: Read your local newspaper or community website to find out about cultural events for you and your child to enjoy.
7. Volunteer: Donate your time, supplies, or other resources to your child’s school or a local arts organization like Arts For the Schools (www.artsforthescools.org).
8. Join The Cause: Join the Cause campaign called “Keep the Arts in Public Schools.” It’s free!
9. Be An Advocate: Show your support for arts education by speaking with education leaders and decision makers. For ways to take action, visit Americans for the Arts.
10. Stay Informed: Keep up to date on the latest arts education news by staying in touch with Arts for the Schools programming.
Get the facts on why art education is so important to your child’s development by visiting various sites that promote art education. To name a few:
What you may not know is many states have already begun to adopt standards for arts education. “Standards” in American education define what students should know and be able to do in any given academic discipline. National standards in the arts (dance, music, theater, visual arts) have been developed to provide a guide and resource to states and school districts that want to develop their own standards.
National Standards for Art Education: developed in 1994 by experts in education and the arts. They describe what a child with a complete, sequential education in the arts should know and be able to do at various grade levels in each artistic discipline. The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards is in the process of updating these standards.
State Standards for Art Education: Most states have standards in place for arts education and others are still in the process of developing arts standards. State-by-state summaries of arts education standards and other policies are available, as are your state’s specific standards in arts education.
The more we, as a society, learn to value art education for our children the more we will all benefit. The more we feed their souls with the arts, the more the children will grow in all aspects of their lives.
And studies have found that “the single most critical factor in sustaining arts education in schools is the active involvement of influential segments of the community in shaping and implementing the policies and programs of the district.”
As we stand together, our community — parents, families, artists, art organizations, businesses, local leaders and institutions — must continue to have a voice for art education.
Because we believe and understand the importance of the arts for our children, we must be ready to stand together to keep art education strong in the Tahoe-Truckee area. Get involved and feel honored to support something you believe in.
Bethany Lund is a member of the Arts For the Schools board of trustees.