By Rhea Dawkins
Since 2007, Americans have survived an economy where small businesses suffer immensely in sales, major corporations experience massive layoffs, and the middle class continues to decrease as the poor and wealthy take the lead in numbers. In hopes to bring the country back to a state of stability, political parties have been in continuous dispute over major issues with regards to war, debt, and women’s rights. A country that once promised dreams of freedom and security now struggles to keep its oath while experiencing cut backs in major areas, such as education. School boards across the nation are scaling back and discontinuing arts education. Why is this a problem, you ask? Because many are unaware of the importance of the arts plays in early childhood development. Let’s explore this!
After a long day of assignments, lessons and tests with your homeroom teacher, who didn’t love to break for art class or gym?! Some of the fondest memories of elementary school have been associated with school plays and recitals. More than just another extra-curricular activity, the disciplines of dance, drama, music, and art have been proven to help with the development of certain skills. Communication is 90% non-verbal and only 10% verbal. The arts helps to challenge the mind to communicate on a non-verbal level, enhancing communication skills. The arts also creates better problem-solving skills by taking away written instructions and leading the child down a road of discovery to the questions why and how? “Why won’t the glue hold?” “How can I improve this dance move?” Social and emotional skills come into play when young artists are taught to share their art forms and to be sensitive and appreciative of someone else’s. Lastly, fine arts skills are brought into play simply through the repetitive acts of cutting paper, turning a page, or even painting. A child is taught how to be gentle and controlled in various environments.
In recent neurochemistry breakthroughs, scientists have found that learning causes physical changes in the human brain. Of those changes, learning that is based off of emotion are the most deeply rooted. The arts have been found to be an emotion-driven activity by creating something from nothing. It has also been found to be very influential in one’s motivation and interest. Dopamine is an emotional chemical released in the brain during planning, decision-making, and creativity. These activities, often used in the arts, help to develop this motivation and an interest in academic disciplines.
As America makes preparations for a brighter tomorrow, our children’s futures lie in the balance due to the deletion of art fundamentals, once offered in schools everywhere. Another presidential election draws near, but this year voters are faced with a different question. Due to the strong stances taken on subjects such as women’s rights and education, the question is no longer “Who will you vote for” but “What will you vote for?”
Are you a supporter of the arts? Want to know how you can get involved? Support the Dance 411 Foundation! The Dance 411 Foundation is a non-profit organization geared toward bringing the arts back to schools everywhere. Their mission is to foster the well-being of urban youth and adults through self-expression by providing quality education and exposure to the art and discipline of dance, drama, & music. Recently added to the roster as an official vendor for Atlanta Public Schools, the Dance 411 Foundation can be found in multiple schools around the Atlanta area offering dance, drama, and music classes and workshops. Due to the nature of the business, the organization is always looking for volunteers and monetary donations to continue its goal of providing quality arts education for underprivileged youth. The Dance 411 Foundation encourages you to get your children involved and prepped for a bright future. Learn more at www.dance411foundation.org.
Dance A Little, Live A Lot!
By Rhea Dawkins