Let's Be Bold About the "Non-Academic" Benefits of the Arts

Make no mistake, Arts Education is wobbling perilously close to a cliff edge.

Schools are feeling more and more pressure to direct their dwindling resources toward academic subjects. It's little surprise. After all, a school’s success and failure is all too often measured against academic outcomes not artistic ones. The upshot is that Arts Education is being placed on the chopping block.

There has of course been a fight back led by arts educators and parents who are well aware of the profound and wide-ranging benefits of learning arts.

The standard defense has been to argue that Arts Education enhances academic outcomes. But while this may be true, it is a flawed approach that doesn't do justice to the arts. Indeed, it may even weaken the case. 

Learning arts cultivates cognitive abilities, nurtures positive character traits, and fosters critical thinking. It expands awareness, increases empathy, and develops an array of social skills. And that's just the start! 

Here are an incredible 51 evidence-based benefits of Arts Education for kids:

As Holly Donagh of Arts A New Direction puts it:

"When you ask somebody about the impact of the arts on their life and the relevance of the arts within their schooling they rarely talk about the fact that music helped them unlock maths or art helped with their English. They talk about finding a lifelong passion, developing a sense of self and identity, maybe they speak of gaining confidence and a sense of the world outside of their immediate environment. Which is not to say that arts engagement and academic attainment have no relationship, but perhaps it is time to reconsider what that relationship is and how does it work?"

Life success, happiness and wellbeing are not solely determined by academic achievement. Far from it. But so long as scientific studies struggle to capture the subtle yet profound ways in which learning arts transforms lives, then it’s up to us (everyone who has experienced it first-hand) to share our stories and shout about it. 

Let's be bold and confident in proclaiming the vital importance of arts for both individuals and society at large.

If you enjoyed the infographic about the 51 benefits of Arts Education for Kids, why not take a look at our blog on 'How to Help Your Child Learn to Read'?

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