Children are never too young for enrichment opportunities. Teaching children how to play with other children and learning new skills benefits them in the long run. It not only helps them develop confidence and social skills from a young age, but enrichment programs are actually considered critical because the brain is developing so rapidly at this age.
Research shows that learning art, music and other enrichment skills can help children excel in ways beyond the basic ABCs.
In some classrooms and curricula, the arts are merely an option. But as the research and experts demonstrate, considerable value is granted to children who participate in music, theater, art and dance alongside other learning activities.
The importance of arts education is well founded, even when the arts are integrated into the classroom simply for their own sake.
Cognitive and Emotional Benefits of Art Education
According to a report by Americans for the Arts, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills are strengthened by arts education. These skills can transfer to other areas, leading to achievement outside of the arts.
Young people regularly engaged in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, win an award for writing an essay or poem or participate in a math and science fair than those who don’t participate in the arts, a report from Americans for the Arts states.
Other sources confirm the overarching impact of the arts. At the 2009 Learning, Arts and the Brain Summit, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education reported that children showed more motivation, paid closer attention and more easily remembered what they had learned when the arts were integrated into the curriculum.
Cognitively, emotionally and culturally, the arts can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing. It’s clear that arts education adds value to students on more levels than simply increased academic performance.
According to the researchers, out-of-the-box thinking fostered through the arts led to success.
Integrating the Arts into the Classroom
Teachers can take steps to reap the benefits of the arts in nearly any subject. It may be as simple as using music to introduce foreign vocabulary words for younger students or incorporating life-size models of storybook characters or a “dream bedroom” design complete with 3-D floor plans into lesson plans. Virtually any lesson has the potential for arts integration.
Integrating the arts in the classroom encourages a level of creativity that builds students’ abilities and thinking processes and exposes them to the arts, which has its own deep value. With the arts in the classroom, teachers can experiment with approaches that connect to students and accelerate their learning, interests and passions.
When choosing a childcare program for your child, make sure that enrichment components are part of the curriculum. Enrichment classes provide a different environment then what children experience at home. The programs let them become explorers and discoverers of the world. The classes shouldn’t push children but instead provide an environment rich with opportunities to explore and learn in ways that come naturally to them.
To ensure that your child is getting the most out of their enrichment programs, try to join them every now and then so that you can learn new ways to interact with your child and understand their world.
Children are always watching and modeling the adults around them. If they observe that an adult is having a great time and is fully engaged, the child will be much more likely to have fun and be engaged too, thereby maximizing their learning and getting the full benefit of the enrichment program.