How Art Turns Children into Happier, Healthier Adults

By Danielle Pope

How Art Turns Children into Happier, Healthier Adults
A new study has shown just how important the arts are to children's development

New studies show that children who are exposed to cultural programs when they are young, are more likely to be adults who choose higher education, stay employed and enjoy good health. What’s more, the studies also found that increasing arts experience for young offenders makes them less likely to reoffend.

The studies were published by the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA); a British organisation that collects and consolidates evidence of the value of the arts. In their latest report, Imagine Nation, the CLA found how cultural experiences have a profoundly positive impact on children and young people.

“Learning through culture and the arts leads to creative thinking, confidence and problem solving – all skills which are prized by employers, and which young people need,” said Lord Puttnam, Chair of CLA. “If we fail to offer our young people the opportunity to participate in the arts and culture, then we fail to support them in becoming the leading thinkers, innovators, creative business and community leaders of the future.”

Key findings of the report:

  1. Participation in structured arts activities can increase cognitive abilities by 17%
  2. Learning through arts and culture can improve attainment in Maths and English
  3. Learning through arts and culture develop skills and behaviour that lead children to do better in school.
  4. Students from low income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree
  5. Employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment
  6. Students from low-income families who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer
  7. Students form low-income families who engage in the arts at school are 20% more likely to vote as young adults *NB
  8. Young offenders who take part in arts activities are 18% less likely to re-offend.
  9. Children who take part in arts activities in the home during their early years are ahead in reading and Maths at age nine
  10. People who take part in the arts are 38% more likely to report good health.

At a time when both the Australian and New Zealand governments are increasingly cutting funding to the arts, these findings show that arts and culture are a vital part of our social fabric.

(NB – Voting is not compulsory in the United Kingdom)


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