Activities Based In Art

By Samantha Knowles

A recent report by several independent researchers concludes that participating in the arts nurtures the development of social, personal and cognitive skills. Programs based on Arts can improve academic achievement and decrease the tendency towards delinquency. It helps youth form positive attitudes about themselves and build self-esteem.

Arts programs involve communication, interpretation and understanding of complex symbols, much like mathematics and languages. Thus it fosters higher-order analytical skills and skills of evaluation and synthesis. Many of the programs make the child regularly use multiple skills thus making him dynamic and versatile.

Development of imagination, judgment and philosophy are fringe benefits of an arts-based activity. As opposed to the short 45-minute duration of the art classes at school, the extra time allowed in after school activities allows the child to get more involved. This results in more satisfactory opportunities for development of latent capabilities in the child. In turn, the child learns to set high standards of achievement. He understands what sustained focus is and learns that regular practice is the way to excellence.

In the shy or the withdrawn child, theatre, speech or drama lessons may be an outlet for pent up emotions. As drama entails getting into the ‘skin’ of another person, the child learns to verbalize emotions and express thoughts. These reasons account for the popularity of arts-based activities. The most important advantage of a good after school program is that it widens your child’s area of interests. He or she is introduced to new things, sometimes interesting, sometimes challenging. Mastering a new art form or a new skill increases the child’s self-esteem. It also allows you to introduce your child to new career options. A child attending a music class may decide that she likes it so much that she wants to make a career out of it in the long run.

Socialization is another great advantage of after school programs. Children get to meet others who share their interests and make new friendships. An acting class or a soccer class can be lots of fun. Many of these programs coach children for performances or matches. Performing on stage or playing a match can be a great experience for a young child.

After school programs keep your teenager busy. He or she thus has some amount of protection from destructive habits like drugs and alcohol. Surveys indicate that children who are kept busy through diverse absorbing activities are less prone to abuse, depression and burnout. Significant increase in achievement and attendance and a reduction in drop out rates are other advantages of a good after school programs.

Most after school programs have children interacting with one or more adult. This allows them to benefit from positive relationships with adults. Children often find it difficult to confide in parents and teachers, but may open up with other adults.

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