The Dazzling Benefits of Performing Arts for Young Children
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Most children are natural born performers. From very early on they love to sing, dance and act, with parents being their first (and usually most encouraging) audience. Through performing they build confidence, resilience, express themselves and explore the world around them. No matter what medium it is, dramatic play helps kids break down the barriers of reality and learn in a fun and engaging manner. By enrolling your child in drama classes you can encourage this natural learning and give your child the skills to enhance their schooling and indeed their lives.
“Children love to move their bodies and use their voices in self expression and exploring their imagination every day,” explains Emily Wilkinson, Head of Beginners OnStage at Stage School Australia, a performing arts school in Melbourne.
“We love to capture this at an early age and encourage it to develop. We play games, we sing and vocalise, we move our bodies and dance, we create. It’s amazing to see our youngest students begin with us, often shy and timid, and develop over the years with us into confident and assured young people.”
Life Long Learning
But it’s not just fun and games, performing arts classes teach life-long social and academic skills that can equip your child well into adulthood.
“At Stage School Australia we are building from a very early age things like confidence, cooperation in the classroom, developing concentration,” says Emily.
“The activities we do each week are not only designed to develop our Performing Skills, but assist in building well rounded little humans! Our students work towards clear articulation and projection in their speaking and singing voices, confidently presenting and being seen on stage, and developing motor skills and coordination in their bodies.”
Professor Michael Anderson (from the University of Sydney) has a body of research that shows the benefits of performing arts for school-aged kids and its irrefutable benefits beyond the classroom.
Kids who are active participants in the arts:
- Are more motivated
- Are more academically able to deal with what life throws at them
- Have better enjoyment at school
- Have better homework completion
- Have higher self esteem
- Have higher life satisfaction
- Have higher meaning and purpose
An Essential Tool For The Future
Many teachers will tell you that education has shifted towards fostering 21st century capacities that will make students more flexible, confident, critical and creative. These are all skills that can be found in performing arts classes.
“We use our topics to fuel the imagination through drama improvisation activities, musical warm up games, and of course, lots of songs and dances. It’s fun to see the children transform from a tentacled octopus one day to a stomping giant the next!”
By doing drama and being creative, students are learning to problem solve, cooperate, take direction, take leadership and think flexibly in a fun and safe environment.
When To Start
You may think that waiting until your child is well into primary school is the right time to start drama classes, but many experts are now saying that there are huge benefits to starting even earlier. At Stage School Australia their main program for children 5-7 years old, Beginners OnStage, is a Performing Arts program designed to nurture a child’s love of song, dance and drama.
“Each week children come and participate in 1.5 hours of classes; half an hour each of song, dance and drama – each with a different teacher,” explains Emily.
“We develop our Performing Arts skills over the year, culminating in a mid year and end of year concert extravaganza for family and friends at a professional theatre!
“We also have our Beginners OnStage ~ Foundation program specially designed for 4 year old pre-schoolers. The weekly 1 hour classes combine singing, dancing and creative play. This program also culminates in a celebration show twice a year at the Guild Theatre in fabulous costumes included as part of the course.”
If your child is shy you may feel some trepidation around the idea of stage performing, however Stage School Australia will nurture your child so that they are well prepared and confident when it comes to performing on stage.
“Confidence building across the year is key,” says Emily.
“Not only do the students and teachers prepare thoroughly in class. We also send home a rehearsal kit that parents and guardian can help their child practice with. And the other great point of difference, is our teachers are right out there on stage with our students on concert day. That familiar face helping them through the nerves and excitement on the day, guarantees smiles and success up on stage!”
It’s likely that the more nervous person will be you, the parent!
Find out more about Stage School Australia and their classes here.
Images via Stage School Australia Facebook