It’s around this time of year that I half-heartedly decide what my New Years resolution will be. Each year I ponder what to say I am going to do, but always return to the same resolution: ‘This year I will definitely join the gym!’
There seems to be a list of about four resolutions that the general public pick from:
“Join the gym”
Do New Year’s resolutions need to be negative? A lot of resolutions include the word ‘Stop’ rather than ‘Start’. Don’t take something out of your life, bring something new in!
“Stop watching so much TV”
“Stop eating chocolate and sweets”
“Stop being stressed”
With this in mind, I began to wonder what resolutions could have a positive effect on families and children. After researching on the internet I stumbled across two resolutions in an article on The Boston Globe website for families that stood out.
Number one: “Get your children active”
Number two: “Make sure your children have time and space for creativity, relaxation and independence”
I think a lot of people make the assumption that performing arts schools are there solely for children who want to perform on stage. This is far from the truth. Whilst they do provide important stepping stones for children who want to become actors, dancers and singers, they also encourage and develop a child’s essential life skills whilst exposing them to an artistic and cultural education. Here are some of the important skills that are learnt and developed in performing arts:
Developing creativity and promoting the importance of ‘play’.
Giving children the time and space to ‘play’ allows them to explore their imaginations whilst also keeping them physically active and giving them the opportunity to make new friends. ‘Play’ challenges and stimulates a child’s brain, broadening their mind and encouraging them to explore their individual creativity.
Developing confidence and overcoming anxiety.
To get up on stage in front of an audience and perform is no mean feat, whether this ‘stage’ is in a theatre, a meeting at work or a presentation at school. Overcoming anxiety and feeling confident in any situation should be applauded. Whether it is a child singing a solo or even just performing as part of a group during class time, learning how to be confident in everything you do as a child is a wonderful attribute to have.
Learning self-discipline and motivation.
At the end of each term at Stagecoach the children perform in a presentation to their families. This performance is seen as a goal to reach and it encourages the children to be motivated to learn all their dance moves, songs and lines whilst also teaching children to be disciplined in the commitment to the part they play within the group.
Improving language and memory skills.
Through reading and learning lines in a script or a song, a child’s memory skills improve as they learn how to store information in their minds. Their language skills also develop. They will feel more confident reading out loud at school and their vocabulary will expand.
Learning a difficult dance move, a complicated song or a speech encourages a child to explore different problem-solving techniques. Doing so teaches them that nothing is impossible and if they put their mind to it they can achieve whatever they want. Also, they experience a wonderful sense of accomplishment when they work out how to do something which will in turn encourage them to face future challenges head on.
Social interaction and people skills.
Involvement in performing arts teaches children how to work well as part of a team and how to communicate successfully to others their own age. It also gives them the confidence to communicate with those older than themselves.
A recent study conducted by the University of Maryland explored the relationship between children’s involvement in physical activity and the positive results in day-to-day behaviour. The research found that when a child participates in performing arts their behaviour at school and at home as well as their emotional development develops and improves. It also contributes to the development of a child’s cognitive, motor, language and social emotional skills.
Stagecoach Theatre Arts offers one hour of singing, one hour of dancing and one hour of acting each week. The children who attend aren’t just provided with access to performing arts skills but also to skills that they will use throughout their lives. There is a stigma that the performing arts world is elitist, this simply is not true as performing arts provides something for everyone. I’d like to finish with a quote from Ann P. Kahn, the former president of The National PTA:
"The creative arts are the measure and reflection of our civilization. They offer many children an opportunity to see life with a larger perspective...The moral values we treasure are reflected in the beauty and truth that is emotionally transmitted through the arts. The arts say something about us to future generations."
H.Davis - Stagecoach Theatre Arts Head Office