Aug 1, 2008

Ten Simple Ways Parents Can Get More Art in Their Kids’ Lives

If the public schools in your area are anything like mine you will know how severely arts education is suffering. Whether it be fine art, music, dance...all areas have been cut back on, and our children are losing out as a result.

So what do we do? Well we can sign petitions, protest, rally behind our teachers, complain to one another that we wish things were different...and hope that things eventually change. But I am a firm believer that well rounded kids are the result of well rounded parents. Parents who show a desire to expose their children to new experiences will raise children that have a desire to learn. So no matter how busy we get, especially if we are working mothers, we should try to interject a little bit of knowledge and interest into our child's lives. Read books, visit museums, visit art galleries, do crafts together, watch live musicians...the possibilities are endless.

At the Americans for the Arts organization this is a serious subject and the organization have embarked on a National Arts Public Education Awareness Campaign for the past couple of years now. Here is their top ten list on how to increase the art in your child's life:

Top 10 List
1. Enjoy the arts together. Sing, play music, read a book, dance, or draw with your child at home.
2. Encourage your child to participate in the arts and celebrate their participation in or out of school.
3. Explore your community’s library and read “the classics” together—from Mother Goose to Walt Whitman.
4. Read your local newspaper to find out about attending local arts events like museum exhibits, local plays, festivals, or outdoor concerts.
5. Tell your child’s teacher, principal, and school leadership that the arts are vital to your child’s success and an important part of a quality education. Find out if your school has sufficient resources for arts education, including qualified teachers and materials. If not, offer to help.
6. Contact your local arts organizations to inquire about the arts education programs they offer either during school hours or after school. Volunteer to donate time, supplies, or help with their advocacy efforts and connect these services to your child’s school.
7. Attend a school board or PTA meeting and voice your support for the arts to show them you care and make sure the arts are adequately funded as part of the core curriculum in the school budget.
8. Explore your child’s dream to sing, to dance, to draw, to act—and encourage them to become the best they can be through the arts.
9. Be an arts supporter! Contact your elected officials—lawmakers and school board members—to ask them for more arts education funding from the local, state, and federal levels.
10. Sign up to become an activist on the Americans for the Arts website, just a click away! Through our e-activist list, you will get news updates and alerts about arts education.

Why is it important to make art a part of your child's life?

According to Americans for the Arts, the arts:

  • Improve kids' overall academic performance.
  • Show that kids actively engaged in arts education are likely to have higher test scores than those with little to no involvement.
  • Develop skills needed by the 21st century workforce: critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, teamwork and more.
  • Teach kids to be more tolerant and open.
  • Allow kids to express themselves creatively and bolster their self-confidence.
  • Keep students engaged in school and less likely to drop out.
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