School administrators and parents should know that music and art training at pre-school level helps in making students better prepared for middle school education. A report on a recent study conducted by researchers at the George Mason University Arts Research Center provided evidence of a link between elective courses in visual art, music, dance and drama, and better academic performance in middle school.
Adam Whitler, Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology at the university,who led the study, explained that their goal was to determine if students who elected to take middle school arts differ from students who do not. Their evaluation and examination of archival pre-school to middle school public-school records of a diverse group of students, showed that those with prior training in music and arts had more advantage. Their edge over students without music and art background was evident even seven years earlier, having developed stronger social skills and cognitive language as early as age 4.
After taking hold of statistical data to validate their assessment, their next goal was to establish whether taking up art and music courses in middle school can be linked to later academic results until they completed 6th, 7th and 8th grade levels. Their assessments yielded positive results.
Underscoring the Importance of Creative Learning
According to Professor Adam Winslers, they followed a group of 31,331 students; 61 percent of which were Latino, while 31 percent were African-American. Fifty-five percent of the group were English Language Learners, while 81 percent in the group received free lunch or lunch discount.
Based on their assessment of the group’s school records, students who were exposed to middle school arts training, mostly came from families with higher income and with both parents living in the household.
In light of those findings, this article links the significance of the George Mason Study to an article on education published by Jana Sosnowski at Seattle PI dot com. Through the article,
Ms. Sosnowski who, holds a Master of Science in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology underscored the importance of Art, Music and Physsical Ed in Elementary Schools.
Yet art and music programs in public schools are on a decline. In most U.S. states, because the creative courses are the first to be eliminated when budget cuts take place.
Ms.Sosnowski used a report by the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, in citing how budget cuts in education throughout the country between 1982 to 2008, resulted to a decline in art and music education at a rate of 23 percent,.
That is why by 2008, 57 percent of students who attended schools, had enrolled in educational institutions that offer music education as part of instructions.