A new research study put forth by The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. has found that “engaging with art is essential to the human experience.” The study was done specifically to gather empirical evidence for more art education to be added to curriculums across the nation, particularly for elementary schools, since it’s been challenging for arts education to provide the empirical evidence necessary to demonstrate its value educationally.
Let’s look at some of the things the study showed art provides for children’s growth. Children communicate through art almost as soon as their motor skills develop. As part of the empirical evidence they gathered, the study actually looked at adults who engage in the arts. What it found was behaviors that contribute to a healthy civil society such as social tolerance and civic engagement was much higher in adults who participated in artistic endeavors in some way in their life. The authors of the study found that art challenges us to consider different points of view and to empathize with others.
In the part of the study that dealt specifically with elementary school children, who were the primary target of the research program, increasing arts learning significantly affected student’s school engagement positively. The students said art made them think about things in new ways and they drew upon art work as a means for empathizing with others. As opposed to those students interviewed in the control group of the study (those who did not get an increase of art education in school), students whose schools offered arts programs were more likely to agree that school work is enjoyable and that the arts programs kept them interested in school. They were also more likely to express that they had college aspirations.
An earlier ten-year national study called Youth Development and the Arts in Nonschool Hours by Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University, found that when compared with a national sample of students, youth who were involved in non-school arts-based programs were: Four times more likely to win an academic award, such as being on the honor roll. Eight times more likely to receive a community service award. Three times more likely to win a school attendance award. Four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair. Likely to score higher on their SAT college admission test scores if they have been involved for more than four years of after-school arts study.
The good news is the Brookings Institute study, like Brice Heath’s earlier study, did find that art is invaluable to a child’s educational upbringing. The bad news is the proportion of students getting arts education in school has shrunk drastically over the last few decades.
But here at The Bent Brush we help you ensure your kids get the time to be creative by providing some after-school art programs like our Kids Paint Me A Story Tuesdays 4pm-6pm and for younger kids, Thursday 10 am to 11 am. We also have special events like our Harry Potter event that we hosted a couple of weeks ago and every month we add new techniques classes so you and your child can learn new creative endeavors. And if you and your child don’t have the time to commit to a class, you can simply walk in and choose a project to do together with no reservations required!
Give us a call today, or drop us a line on Facebook to find out more! We look forward to seeing you and your children getting creative together in the studio!