What role can the arts play in early childhood learning?
The National Endowment for the Arts recently “hosted a 90-minute webinar titled ‘New Research on the Arts & Early Childhood: A Symposium.’ The webinar showcased a series of research articles that appeared in a special section of Early Childhood Research Quarterly (ECRQ) (4th Quarter issue, published in 2018).”
Webinar presenters included: Brian Kisida (University of Missouri), Eleanor Brown (West Chester University), and Amy Susman-Stillman (University of Minnesota), Rocio Galarza (Sesame Workshop) and Jane Best (Arts Education Partnership). The NEA notes that “additional introductory remarks were made by co-guest editors Adam Winsler (George Mason University) and Melissa Menzer (National Endowment for the Arts), as well as by Sunil Iyengar, director of the NEA’s Office of Research & Analysis.”
Importance of art in education
Here is a list of the individual papers covered in the special issue:
- Preface: The arts & early childhood: Melissa Menzer, Adam Winsler
- Cultivating interest in art: Causal effects of arts exposure during early childhood: Brian Kisida, Daniel H. Bowen, Jay P. Greene (Note: We previously highlighted the work of Jay P. Greene in a post titled “Science Behind Art: Can Museum Visits Help Executive Function?“)
- The art of Head Start: Intensive arts integration associated with advantage in school readiness for economically disadvantaged children: Eleanor D. Brown, Mallory L. Garnett, Blanca M. Velazquez-Martin, Timothy J. Mellor
- Integrating the arts into head start classrooms produces positive impacts on kindergarten readiness: Mary Lou Greene, Shlomo Sawilowsky
- Does theatre-in-education promote early childhood development?: The effect of drama on language, perspective-taking, and imagination: Wendy K. Mages
- Is more time in general music class associated with stronger extra-musical outcomes in kindergarten?: Jillian Hogan, Sara Cordes, Steven Holochwost, Ehri Ryu, Adele Diamond, Ellen Winner
- Reliability and validity of a measure of preschool children’s theatre arts skills: The Preschool Theatre Arts Rubric: Amy Susman-Stillman, Michelle Englund, Chloe Webb, Amanda Grenell
- Did the frequency of early elementary classroom arts instruction decrease during the no child left behind era? If so, for whom?: Taylor V. Gara, Liane Brouillette, George Farkas
- Arts-related pedagogies in preschool education: An Asian perspective: Alfredo Bautista, Ana Moreno-Núñez, Rebecca Bull, Farina Amsah, Swee-Fuan Koh
Field Trips Help Connect the Arts and Early Childhood Learning
A useful additional note highlighted in the webinar, according to Education Dive: “Field trips increase interest in the arts… Early exposure to the arts is important, researchers say — and may be especially important for children with the greatest needs — because students’ participation has been associated with higher achievement in school. Students with stronger early academic skills at age 4 and in 5th grade, however, are more likely to ‘self-select’ into arts programs in middle school.