In this age of benchmarks,standardized testing, and pressure on schools to demonstrate improved scores in math, reading, and science, it can be challenging to find a way to integrate arts education as an essential part of the curriculum. Dedicated principals and teachers are conducting tutoring before, during and after school hours to help their students prepare for tests that are anxiously anticipated from the first day of school. However, as mounting research demonstrates the
impact that the arts have on learning, scientists and educators are coming to
understand that art is an essential piece of a child’s education, not just an
enjoyable activity. Studies show that children’s participation in the performing arts
increases their motivation and attention, as well as their memory retrieval in
academic subjects. Art-making involves risk-taking, self-critique, perseverance,
self-discipline, confidence, and pride in the finished product. It establishes a
strong work ethic that can carry over to the classroom and inspire the focus and
hard work needed to overcome challenging academic obstacles.
“The arts teach young people how to learn by giving them the first step: the desire
SECRETARY, DEPT OF EDUCATION
Champions of Change—The Impact of the Arts on Learning cites critical research, finding that learning in and through the arts can help “level the playing field” for youngsters from disadvantaged circumstances, often making a more significant difference to students from low-income backgrounds than for their counterparts.
These children are often marginlized in terms of societal expectations, opportunities and support and are not typically exposed to the rigors of formal dance and other arts experiences in an academic setting. “Youth who are engaged in ongoing arts programs show improvement in attitudes toward school, self-respect, self-efficacy, positive peer associations, and resistance to peer pressure.”
SHIRLEY BRICE HEATH
By bringing its programs directly into the low-income neighborhood schools as part of the curriculum, Kids Excel makes arts education available to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in an extra-curricular arts education program. Children learn to work hard, never give up, and do their personal best - lessons that can be applied to every endeavor