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ERIC Number: ED498163
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Arts and Afterschool: A Powerful Combination. Afterschool Alert. Issue Brief No. 21
Afterschool Alliance
In an increasingly competitive information age and creative economy, knowledge and skills in the arts and music are important in their own right. Additionally, the integration of the arts into after-school programs helps build and reinforce important student learning. It helps strengthen teamwork, responsibility, persistence, self-discipline, and presentation skills, and can promote learning in core subjects. The arts provide a certain excitement and vibrancy that students need in general, but particularly in the after-school and summer hours. They are a key element to attracting young people, especially middle and high school students, to after-school programs because they allow for individual expression and demonstration of their work. This is essential because regular attendance is the only way after-school and summer programs can impart their positive effects. The arts enhance educational experience for a variety of reasons. There is intrinsic value in having the opportunity to express oneself creatively. Additionally, the fun and engaging nature of the arts can provide opportunities for "stealth learning," with drawing as an exercise in geometry, mixing paints as chemistry, dance and music as counting and drama as reading comprehension and public speaking. In addition, there now exists a great deal of research on the mental stimulation and life lessons provided by arts education, which help youth succeed in school and later in life. After-school programs are also excellent venues to build partnerships with the local arts community, such as dance companies, theater troupes, music groups, cultural associations and museums. Strong partnerships are a key to long-term success and sustainability for after-school programs. These partnerships bring students important connections to caring adults and community groups and institutions that can build the students' repertoire of skills and linkage to people for the future. Youth today face a variety of difficult issues that affect their development, from divorce to drugs to violence in their communities. The arts provide an opportunity for youth to express their feelings in a creative and constructive manner, rather than through risky behaviors. Education reforms that emphasize achievement in math and reading and drastic budget cuts are squeezing arts education out of school curricula around the country. News stories from across the country tell a tale of dwindling arts budgets and program downsizing: after-school arts programs are essential to filling this gap in education. Part of the mission of educational institutions should be to produce well-rounded citizens who are capable of thinking in a variety of ways, and arts education is an important means to that end. Students of all ages benefit from having robust arts opportunities in the school, after-school and summers, and in the community. Uniting the schools, nonprofits, and cultural resources of a community in delivering arts education is a win-win partnership. Afters-school and summer programs can and should develop these partnerships to provide youth with positive, fun learning experiences that will keep them inspired for a lifetime. (Contains 22 endnotes.)
Afterschool Alliance. 1616 H Street NW Suite 820, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-347-1002; Fax: 202-347-2092; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Afterschool Alliance, Washington, DC.