By Toni Bouman
It’s common knowledge that arts and music programs have been increasingly cut out of our children’s education due to budget restrictions. It’s also well known among parents and teachers that children engaged in music, theater or art programs also have higher achievement scores in both math and reading.
What many people do not factor into the merits of art and music programs are the hidden benefits and rewards that you can’t put a dollar value on. Not only are children “having fun” when they participate in art, music or theater classes, they are learning about other cultures and how other people live, work and play. As a by-product they are also receiving instruction in history, geography, mathematics, and science.
I have long held the opinion that if children are taught art history in addition to their core subjects, not only will they excel more readily in those core subjects, but they will have a deeper sense of connection and understanding about other people in other parts of the world.
If a child is “having fun” in a class, aren’t they more likely to learn to love learning? If more children truly enjoyed going to school, it’s a safe bet that more children would finish high school and go on to college. Statistics show that finishing secondary school and college directly affects a person’s ability to rise out of poverty. More importantly and most significantly, a child experiencing art and music is actually discovering who they are and who they want to become.
Being taught art and music gives a child a profound sense of accomplishment and self-worth. It can teach them discipline as well. A child who feels good about himself is much more likely to perform well in school, ask questions as they learn and interacts well with others socially. Giving a young person the ability to find a way to express themselves is one step forward to more balanced, productive and happy adults in our future who can solve the issues facing our world.
Toni Bouman is an Associate Artist at Studios on the Park
Studios on the Park’s Kids Art Smart program provides free, hands-on art classes and experiences with K-6 grade schoolchildren from throughout the North County.