Children’s Aid Report on Arts Education Benefits: MOTIVATION, IMAGINATION, EMANCIPATION.

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Across the country, educators, government leaders and psychologists laud the value of an arts education. The arts are a great vessel for tapping into a child’s creative energy and boosting their self-confidence. Studies show that visual and performing arts play an important role in the child’s cognitive ability to read, write and do mathematics.

A recent paper published in the Psychology of Music concluded that when elementary school children were enrolled in a music curriculum, they tend to perform better in terms of language and literacy in comparison to children not routinely trained in music. Additionally, students incorporating keyboard instruction as part of their music program demonstrated a notable improvement in their vocabulary and verbal sequencing, as they progressed to advanced (and more complex) levels in keyboard theory and practice.

Research indicates that students exposed to arts programs tend to do better on standardized tests than their non-arts peers. For those kids living in troubled homes, who may be subject to experiencing emotions of anger or grief, the arts provide a cathartic release. Art therapy is an excellent outlet for troubled teens who otherwise may not have an outlet to vent their innermost emotions and fears.

Art presents an opportunity for the overstressed child to express his or her thoughts in a non-verbal way. At–risk children tend to flourish in arts studies, making them less likely to cut classes or quit school altogether. Thanks to community-based programs and other advocates and benefactors, the arts have found their way back to the educational stage!

Marjorie Caparosa, Arts & Leadership Coordinator, East Harlem Center, Children’s Aid, weighs in on the topic:

Providing programs that encourage children to express themselves through the arts is perhaps the most valuable gift we can offer our youth. Here at East Harlem Center our curriculum is designed to inspire creativity while allowing children to articulate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. With our multidisciplinary approach to programming, participants flourish as they learn about different cultures, holidays, artists, literature, etc. through the arts. Visual arts, dance, music and drama promote teamwork and leadership skills as well providing an outlet for our youth to express themselves. East Harlem Center’s young artists celebrate their creativity and build self-esteem through their participation in arts programs at our site.