I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt bombarded with acronyms since becoming a parent. From TTC to L&D, CIO to STTN, it’s almost like learning another language! As our kids get to school age, the acronyms tend to become more familiar. Think GPA, ESL, and SAT.
There’s one in particular, though, that’s newer to me – STEAM.
Everyone’s heard of STEM curriculums that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEAM takes that to the next level, adding an A for Arts to the mix.
STEAM seems to be becoming more popular by the day, and for good reason! Here’s why.
Arts Education is Essential to Learning & Development
Countless studies have shown the effects that exposure to the arts has on academics, improving performance in reading, math, and standardized tests. Even minimal exposure is beneficial, with positive effects seen after children see just one theater performance or spend a single afternoon at a museum.
The benefits go beyond sharpening developing brains. Arts education actually affects children’s overall personal growth, helping develop skills like creativity, teamwork, and more.
“Arts education teaches the intangibles that even the best textbooks cannot touch,” says Stacy Steyaert, Early Childhood Program Coordinator at Imagination Stage. “Empathy, listening, patience, flexibility: these are things you can only learn through social interaction and active collaboration, and the arts are inherently social and collaborative.”
How does this work? Performing arts education utilizes a concept called embodied cognition, an empirically-proven method of learning and comprehension. Embodied cognition is the concept that if a person learns something new through multiple modalities, it will be understood better, remembered longer, and be more meaningful.
The arts create moments for this kind of learning all of the time. To become a character or sing a show tune, you have to coordinate and challenge your skills in everything from reading, to language, to body positioning and balance, to hearing, to sight, to deductive reasoning. Because of this, the arts help create lasting memories.
Extending Arts Education into the Summer
Most of our children are fortunate enough to attend schools that have some form of arts education, whether it’s music, visual art, drama, or dance. But what happens in the summer, when this structured time for the arts (and the rest that school offers) is on hiatus? How can you keep your child’s art education going?
Consider a summer arts camp, like those offered by Imagination Stage.
Imagination Stage has camps for children ages 3.5 to 18. Camp options run the gamut from early childhood appropriate lessons to advanced production camps that culminate in fully-produced, professional performances. With focus on acting, musical theatre, creative drama, dance, filmmaking, and more, there’s truly something for everyone.
Why so many options?
“There is no one-size-fits-all for learning,” says Steyaert. “At Imagination Stage, we embrace the child as who they are when they walk in the door, and from there, we strive to help every child grow at their own speed to become better artists, better innovators, and better citizens.”
Not only will your child have fun at camp, but he or she will also begin to develop essential life skills.
“I think exposing children to arts at an early age is a crucial factor in ensuring they develop into tolerant, empathetic, and confident adults,” says Danielle Mathers, Imagination Stage School Partnerships Manager.
“The arts help students find their voice and give them the space to express themselves. Students who attend camp at Imagination Stage gain these skills in a low pressure, fun environment as they learn how to work collaboratively in an ensemble from high-quality, professional teaching artists.”
Learn More About Imagination Stage Summer Camps
Imagination Stage offers one, two, three, and four-week long summer arts camps for children between the ages of 3.5 and 18. Camp is held at the main theatre in Bethesda, with additional locations in Rockville and Northwest Washington, DC.