Recently, a stagnant economy plus increasing expenses for school basics have combined to force educators nationwide to make difficult budget cuts across the board. Deciding exactly where to make those cuts can be a gut-wrenching decision. Eliminate after school activities or sideline sports? Close the curtains on the school play or forego new playground equipment? From kindergarten to college, however, the first cut is often to the “The Arts.” But, is this the right decision?
Erroneously considered an “extra” in education, The Arts are actually a crucial component in the development of higher order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and problem-finding.
According to First Lady Michelle Obama, a tireless proponent of The Arts, “Learning through The Arts reinforces critical academic skills in reading, language arts, and math, and provides students with the skills to creatively solve problems.”
All of these skills are directly transferable to other school subjects – from math, to physics, to language learning — creating consistently more successful students.
“Studies show that art-centered schools outscore non-art-centered schools in academic achievement scores,” says Lynda Resnick of the Huffington Post. “Art education can actually help the brain to rewire itself, to make stronger and more plentiful neural connections, and can help build memory skills. Self-discipline, intuition, reasoning, imagination, and dexterity are just a few of the other benefits of an art-filled education, especially for primary school students.”
From music, to drama, to graphic design, The Arts can also provide students with a “language” that all people can understand – cutting across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers.
But, what’s a parent to do if their child’s school has already cut The Arts from its curriculum?
Luckily, opportunities for self-expression through The Arts abound in the tri-state. Here are a few exciting options:
If your child loves music, The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is a diverse children’s choir in Wilmington, Delaware committed to providing free and open access to all interested children, regardless of their financial, social or ethnic background. The Choir shares a love and desire to excel in choral singing, performance and musical knowledge. For information on upcoming concerts, auditions and even a summer camp, visit http://www.wilmingtonchildrenschorus.org/.
For children bitten by the drama bug, The Delaware Children’s Theatre (DCT) has been entertaining audiences of all ages for over forty seasons! DCT strives to enrich each child’s cultural life, help young talent find its way to the stage, and continue a tradition of affordable, quality family theatre. For a list of upcoming shows, an auditions schedule, and more information visit http://www.dechildrenstheatre.org/.
Children who are passionate about the visual arts will love the Sunday Studio series at the Delaware Art Museum. Here, families and kids are introduced to a new artist medium each month in the Children’s Studio within the Bank of America Education Wing. For more information and schedules of Family and Children’s Programs at the museum, plus summer art camp series forchildren aged 6-12, visit http://www.delart.org/.
So, let the beauty and unique experience of The Arts enrich your child’s life!
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” –Georgia O’Keefe
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