• June 20th, 2012
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Arts Education

Arts Education: Creating Student Success in School Work and Life directly communicates the benefits of arts education to policymakers. More than 60 organizations are signatories on this unified statement – and they represent an impressive cross-section of stakeholders in federal education policy.

Here is a brief statement included in that document:

A child’s education is not complete unless it includes the arts. In fact, the No Child Left Behind Act lists the arts among the core academic subjects, requiring schools to enable all students to achieve in the arts, and to reap the full benefits of a comprehensive arts education. In spite of this federal direction, access to arts education in our schools is eroding. A report from the Center for Education Policy conclude that, since the enactment of No Child Left Behind, 22% of school districts surveyed have reduced instructional time for art and music… A comprehensive strategy for a complete education includes rigorous, sequential arts instruction in the classroom, as well as participation and learning in available community-based arts programs. Public schools have the responsibility for providing a complete education for all children, meeting the commitment put forth in No Child Left Behind. The federal commitment to arts education must be strengthened so that the arts are implemented as a part of the core curriculum of our nation’s schools and are an integral part of every child’s development.

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills are the abilities that a person acquires during infancy and early childhood as a part of the motor development of a person. It is during childhood that a person slowly and gradually learns and masters motor skills. The ability to stand up, walk, run, jump, climb and other such skills are all built upon, improved and better controlled in early childhood and continues to get better and refined throughout an individual’s years of development into adulthood. There are certain large muscle groups and body movements that initiate these gross movements in a person, therefore it is essential on the part of the parents to provide enough opportunities to their kids to play, jump, hop and run around for their muscles to gain strength and facilitate the gross developmental process. This article focuses on the various aspects of development of gross motor skills and brings forth the importance and usefulness of outdoor activities for kids under developing stages of their lives.

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Skills learned in Dance and Music

The Importance of Music and Movement by April Kaiser (CCC Teacher)

Children naturally love music! Whether it’s soft and soothing or a lively tune, children feel it both physically and emotionally.

Throughout the early years, children are learning to do new things with their bodies. Young children are also learning that movement can communicate messages and represent actions. Young children are able to perform and recognize pantomimed actions such as ironing, stirring, swimming, or playing the piano.

Most children usually are quite at home with movement. They begin to learn about the world by acting on objects and people, and they “think with their bodies” well before they think with words. This is why body movement is not only fun for children but also a good opportunity for them to solve problems. When you ask questions that call for verbal responses (“Can you think of some other ways that Pooh could get up to the honey tree?” or “What did we do to make applesauce yesterday?”), some children may have difficulty responding in words. But when questions call for movement (“What are some ways you can think of to get from one side of the mat to the other?”), children aren’t limited by their verbal abilities.

Movement problems challenge children in different ways and help teachers/parents learn about the problem solving and creative abilities of less verbal children.

Singing or chanting can help make routine activities and transitions, such as gathering children into a circle or group activity, smoother and more enjoyable. And music helps to set a mood.

Quiet, soothing music calms and relaxes children, while a lively marching tune rouses them for energetic clean‐up time.

Music and movement are also social activities that help children feel part of the group.

As children grow in their appreciation of the beauty of music and dance, they acquire a gift that will bring them great pleasure. Music brings another dimension of beauty into our lives.

Music and movement benefit a child’s development in many ways. Here are skills that music and movement can help develop:

1. Participating in a group
2. Social skills
3. Express emotions
4. Enhance self‐concept by sharing music and dance of each other’s culture
5. Refine listening skills‐noticing changes in tempo or pitch
6. Awareness of movement and body positions
7. Creativity and imagination
8. Learn new words and concepts
9. Explore cause and effect
10. Develop large motor skills
11. Improve balance, coordination, and rhythm through dance and movement activities
12. Improve small motor skills‐learning finger plays and playing musical instruments.

Sources: The Creative Curriculum for Preschool Children by Diane Trister Dodge and Laura J. Colker