A new review of research on the arts and early childhood from the National Endowment for the Arts suggests that arts programs can help children develop social and emotional skills in early childhood—but that there’s still a need for more research on different artistic disciplines and on how arts can affect different groups of students.
The review’s authors found 18 articles published between 2000 and 2015 that focused on art and involved children between birth and age 8.
Many of those articles had compelling findings about how exposure to the arts seems to benefit students socially and emotionally. For example, parents who sang to their children three times per week also reported that the children had stronger social skills.
But there were few studies on how various arts affect some specific groups of children, including those who have disabilities, or those who are anxious or withdrawn, or on how different races, ages, or genders respond to the arts.
A version of this article appeared in the January 06, 2016 edition of Education Week as Arts Education