Our guest blogger Naomi Webb looks at the importance of performing arts in our children’s development.
These days, children have access to a wide range of school supplies including interactive white boards, computing equipment and educational furniture, all of which are designed to make learning engaging and fun. They also get the chance to study many fascinating topics at school, but with the national curriculum focussing more on ‘core academic subjects’ such as English, maths, history, geography, the sciences and languages, it seems performing arts is being gradually squeezed out.
In fact, there has been a significant decline in the number of state schools offering arts subjects led by specialist teachers – but how could this effect our youngster’s future and why is performing arts so important to a child’s development? Let’s take a closer look:
A report by Warwick University, The Future of Cultural Value, has revealed that cultural experiences and opportunities (including learning about/visiting the theatre and performing plays) are being closed off to youngsters – particularly those from a poorer background. With teaching hours for drama falling significantly, the worry is that a two-tier system will form in which only the most advantaged youngsters had access to a wide range of experiences. As drama and performing arts is an integral part of British culture, it only seems right for children of all backgrounds to not only learn about famous playwrights but to put on culturally significant plays as a class in a bid to improve their knowledge about well-known scripts.
Warwick University researcher, and commission member Prof Jonathan Neelands, said: “Without educational intervention, we are in danger of allowing a two-tier creative and cultural ecosystem in which the most advantaged in social and economic terms are also the most advantaged in benefiting economically, socially and personally from the full range of experiences and value in that prevailing system.”
Performing arts is also important to a child’s development as it helps them to come out of their shell and gain confidence. While some people are natural performers, others need a little more encouragement and speaking in front of a group is excellent practise for the future – after all employees, CEOS and business owners are required to do this all the time in professional fields.
Drama lessons also teach little ones how to work together for the benefit of a production and help them to understand the well-known mantra: Practise makes perfect. Moreover, drama students also learn everything from stage presence to pronunciation and diction which can help them to become clear, confident speakers when they’re older.
Improves language skills
Performing arts is more than just singing and dancing on stage. It gives children access to a wide range of timeless literature they might not have ever seen before and helps them to understand the concept of dialogue as well as the difference between acts and scenes. Not only does putting on a play help to improve their language skills and vocabulary, but they can spot the difference between old English and modern English – especially when studying playwrights such as Shakespeare or Webster – and can begin to appreciate how language has adapted over time.
The performing arts is extremely important to a child’s development both on a personal and cultural level and while there are many extra-curricular drama clubs to attend, these can be costly so it’s essential for this subject to remain present at school.