More Reasons on Why the Arts are Good for Young Children: A glimpse on recent studies

Much has been discussed about the importance of exposure to the arts as part of early-childhood education programs, but according to a recent column in Education Dive, researchers and educators still have questions about how these experiences benefit children as they continue through school.

The column states such questions have grown more relevant for school and district leaders "since passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which provides multiple opportunities for the arts to be part of a well-rounded education."

Some recent studies shed light. One focused on preschoolers who attended an arts-themed Head Start program at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. The children in the program participate in daily music, dance, and visual arts instruction in addition to being in classrooms using the Creative Curriculum program.

The researchers, led by Psychology Professor Eleanor Brown of West Chester University in Pennsylvania, used a common early-childhood assessment to measure understanding of basic concepts related to school readiness — such as quantity, direction and position, shapes, colors and self-awareness — in a sample of 197 children. Then they compared the findings to the same assessment data collected from a sample of 68 children at another Head Start program that also used Creative Curriculum, but didn’t include daily arts integration.

“The study suggests," says Brown, "the arts can serve as a mechanism for promoting school readiness skills." Jane Best, the director of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), housed within the Education Commission of the States, encourages educators to use AEP's ArtScan resource to “find and explore how ripe a state might be for great early-childhood education and arts initiatives underway.”

Read the column here.

Visit GIA’s guide on use of federal funds for arts education to learn more about how your State is using federal funds under ESSA to support arts education and programming and learn how you can engage.

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