Stark's Artful Living "Delves Deeper" into Early Childhood Learning
In a landmark publication on the arts and early childhood, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) stressed that...we need to delve deeper into how and why the various art forms impact children's learning. And then most importantly we need to get this information into the hands of teachers who need more assurance that increasing the use of the arts can benefit children's learning...
For the answer to this charge, the NEA need look no further than Stark County. For nearly a decade, the Massillon Museum and a powerful coalition of community partners and schools have supported and grown an arts-based pre-school educational program that immerses students in the fine arts called Artful Living. This year alone, the program will:
- Collaborate with 10 community and arts organizations throughout Stark County;
- Teach in 21 elementary schools in 13 districts as well as the Canton YWCA and the JRC Learning Center;
- Employ 24 teaching artists in music, dance, literature, drama, and visual art;
- Teach in 85 pre-school classes a week;
- Cooperate with over 100 classroom teachers, aides, and administrators;
- Provide 212 arts lessons weekly for a period of 25 weeks (late October through the first week in May) two to four times weekly;
- And, most importantly, impact over 1,200 preschool children.
Artful Living is designed to be replicable in other school districts and communities - a fact undoubtedly recognized by the Cleveland-based Martha Holden Jennings Foundation who just awarded a seventh grant to the program. Yet, growth is only one aspect of program success. Program effectiveness is another. A recent longitudinal study has shown that Artful Living children sustain significantly higher academic performance and better attendance into their school years.
For more information on the program interested parties should contact: Chris Craft, Director, The Artful Living Program
at 330-833-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org
See: The arts in early childhood: social and emotional benefits of arts participation: a literature review and gap-analysis
(2000-2015) by Melissa Menzer, PhD, Office of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts; In partnership with the NEA's Interagency Task Force on the Arts & Human Development.