In a ten-year national study by Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University,
it was discovered that young people who are involved in highly effective
nonschool arts-based community programs in under-resourced communities,
in comparison with a national sample of students were:
* four times more likely to win an academic award, such as being on the
* 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.
It is typical that those who fund school programs have seen the visual
and performing arts as frills
-- programs that can be added only when there is enough money for them, as well
as the first to be cut if there is a budget crisis.
In last week's column, I began a list of benefits that art brings to children,
as highlighted in a conversation with Aiko Cuneo, an artist who workswith
children in schools. Following is the completion of the list:
* Creating art is a fine way for children to make choices and solve problems.
Every step involves making a decision: what color to use, how to make a
line, what size to make something. With every choice the object becomes
more and more their own.
* Everyone has an imagination. Art takes it a step further. Through art,
children create something that, until
that point, was only imagined. Thus, they create visual manifestations
of abstract ideas.
* Children who may be having difficulties in other parts of the school
curriculum may find an expressive outlet
through art. Itís a way to uncover talent that may not be seen otherwise.
* Art is a means of communicating ideas, feelings, and solutions in a way
other than verbally or written.
Families can create a harmonious balance in their childrenís lives when
they make provisions for the
arts. Following are ideas to incorporate them into your home life.
This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís
Advice for Parents.