Aside from being an enjoyable activity for children, and often providing a welcome relief from more academic work, participating in the arts can help kids develop a number of valuable life skills and have a positive knock-on effect on other areas of their lives. It’s important to balance the study of more theoretical subjects with more hands-on, practical activities so that children can explore their creative abilities. Here a prep school in Hertfordshire outlines the main benefits to children of studying the arts at school.
Taking part in activities like drama and theatre helps children develop important social skills; they’ll have to work as part of a team, within which each team member has a specific role to play, and they’ll also learn to listen to others’ ideas and opinions. and express their own thoughts and views within a group setting. This will enhance their communication and interpersonal skills, as well as boosting their confidence.
Activities like playing a musical instrument or performing in a play improve children’s memory and other cognitive skills like pattern recognition and logical thinking. This can have a positive effect on their more academic work, enhancing their reading, writing and maths skills. Children also develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills through engaging in creative activities like making things or learning a dance routine, and their ability to concentrate can be improved through focusing on a lengthy activity like painting a picture or creating a sculpture. They’ll also get the chance to flex their decision-making muscles and make choices autonomously.
Many artistic activities help hone children’s physical abilities; for example, performing on stage enhances spatial awareness and coordination, while dancing can improve dexterity and gross motor skills. Children also learn to use tools and equipment effectively to support their learning.
Working as part of a team to reach a common creative goal, such as putting on a show or designing a model, teaches children about accountability and how each member of the team is responsible for their part. They’ll learn to take responsibility for any mistakes they make and rectify them, and clear up after themselves when they’ve been painting or making something. This helps develop children’s self-agency and independence.
The arts have many benefits for children and taking part in creative activities enhances their physical, mental, emotional and social skills, while giving them the opportunity to explore their own imagination and possibly develop a lifelong passion for artistic pursuits.