Arts in Afterschool

About Arts in Afterschool

Research shows that the arts helps children build both basic and advanced thinking skills and instructs children in diverse modes of thinking and learning. The knowledge and skills that students develop in learning to respond, perform and create works of art constitute a fundamental form of literacy students must have if they are to communicate successfully and function in today’s new media and information society.

Key Information

  • The most engaging and successful afterschool and expanded learning programs have well-designed art and music components.
  • The arts are a key element to attracting young people, especially older youth, to afterschool and expanded learning programs because they promote individual expression and demonstration of their work.
  • Art can attract family engagement to afterschool programs where families can both watch and participate in performances and projects with their children.
  • Afterschool and expanded learning programs are often 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 key for long-term success and sustainable afterschool programs.

Strategies to Support Arts in Afterschool

The goal of many communities is to afford every student the opportunity to learn the arts in the elementary, middle and high school years. Examples include:

  • Providing afterschool and expanded learning opportunities in dance, music, theater and the visual arts.
  • Integrate the arts into math, science, history and other subjects.
  • Support artist-teacher collaborations in and outside the school with cultural groups, such as museums, libraries, poetry and visual arts community groups and in-school residencies of artists, musicians, theater performers, writers and museum curators.
  • Encourage parental involvement in the production and planning of student performances as well as field trips to local museums.

General Publications

This compilation of strategies is a guide for building quality afterschool programs, covering a range of issues including arts, technology and entrepreneurship.
This study indicates that arts education providers now have a unique and exciting opportunity to expand arts participation.
A speech on the role arts play in afterschool programming.