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  • Think of Summer Art Classes This Way: Kids Who Take It Do Better in School, Says Study

    Treat art classes as complementary to your child's academic lessons.
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
Think of Summer Art Classes This Way: Kids Who Take It Do Better in School, Says Study
PHOTO BY Pexels
  • Want your kids to do better in class? Enroll them in art class, research says.

    In a randomized study conducted on 10,548 students in the 3rd to 8th grade in Houston, Texas, the following were noted among those who engaged in the arts: 

    • An improvement in writing achievement
    • A reduction in the proportion of students receiving disciplinary infarctions
    • An increase in the expression of compassion for others
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    The study compared the outcome among schools that offered eight "school-community arts partnerships" and those which had only three. This meant exposure to theater, dance, music, the visual arts, on-campus, and other programs outside of school hours.

    In one group of first-graders who were given a puppet show performance on anti-bullying, teacher Shelea Bennett noted, "By the end of the story, they were able to answer why [bullying] wasn't good, and why you shouldn't act this way." 

    The results were measured based on the children's academic performances and their answers to a survey, which gauged their interest in the arts, in school work, their plans to go to college, their tolerance of others who have differing views and having a heart for those who get treated poorly. 

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    The bottom line: kids who were exposed to additional arts education behaved and performed better in class. Moreover, those kids who had been struggling in their academics were "more engaged, because it gives them a different way to learn," said Tiffany Thompson, a Grade 1 teacher at Codwell Elementary. 

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    Suzette Yu heads Sunny Skies with Teacher Suzette and Friends, a learning center in Quezon City that focuses on child development, behavioral therapy, and music therapy. Speaking to SmartParenting.com.ph, Teacher Suzette, who trained in North America and has 17 years of experience in early education, agrees that exposure to the arts does impact not only a child's academic performance but even his overall behavior. The children also learn kinesthetic development (to negate the effects of being exposed to the screen for long periods), and the lessons are complementary to their academic learning. "They become familiar with math, science, and reading as patterns are introduced," she adds.

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    In fact, parents of her students notice the following in their children after participating in her classes:

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    • Confidence - The kids mingle with their peers, develop leadership qualities while also knowing when to follow
    • Adaptability - The child learns to share with others at an early age, and through community learning, realizes that he/she is not the center of the world (narcissism does not take root). 
    • Focused listening - This skill that may even be life-saving allows a child to pick out the parent's voice from many layers of other ambient sounds.
    • Linguistic skills - Through music, singing, and sign language, speech delay is averted.
    • Cognitive skills - A child learns about math concepts, basic colors and shapes, body parts, and more through music.
    • Physical ability - Being encouraged to move like jump, crawl, skip, run, and gallop provides appropriate sensory stimulation and helps those with ADHD.
    • Musical ability - Early music lessons help a child recognize notes and musical concepts, which can be a good foundation for learning instruments later on.

    As a mom herself, Teacher Suzette encourages parents to get their children into the arts. "IQ is not an indicator of a child's future success, but socio-emotional skills are," she explains.

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