StageCoach Surrey and Richmond Principal, Lisa Oppenheim, discusses how participating in the performing arts can have a profound impact on your child's success in many other areas.

“Life upon the wicked stage ain’t ever what a girl supposes…” or so the old Musical Theatre song from Show Boat posits. But an education in Theatre Arts is much more than most parents imagine, too! When we think of the benefits of enrolling our children in performance activities, we most commonly think of the social benefits: fun, increased self-esteem and confidence. Yet research has found that the benefits extend much further.

Many studies have shown a strong relationship between participation in performing arts and academic achievement. Taking a look at the College Board SAT, 2012 College-Bound Seniors: Total Group Profile Report (http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/research/TotalGroup-2012.pdf), you see that students who participated in acting or a play production scored on average 66 points higher in Critical Reading, 37 points higher in Mathematics, and 68 points higher in Writing than students with no arts involvement. Similarly, students with music coursework scored on average 61 points higher in Critical Reading, 41 points higher in Mathematics, and 63 points higher in Writing than students with no arts involvement. There are an abundance of peer reviewed studies that show the link between performing arts participation and academic success. Here are a couple of links if you are interested:

American Alliance For Theatre & Education: The Effects of Theatre Education

National Association for Music Education: Research
 
Of course, academics aren’t the only components to success. Sir Ken Robinson has pointed out that in today’s rapidly changing world it is impossible to predict what skills will be most sought after in tomorrow’s economy. Therefore, the most important thing we can teach our children is creativity. We must encourage our children’s natural creative ability to develop divergent thinking – the capacity to see lots of possible answers to a question rather than just one. If you haven’t heard him speak, please visit the following link to a TED talk Sir Robinson gave in 2010. He is as entertaining as he is informative!

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?
 
Education is so much more than teaching children to write exams. At StageCoach we know that every child possesses multiple kinds of intelligences. We access the world via visual, kinesthetic, verbal, musical, logical, inter and intra-personal modalities, and we need to nurture all of these faculties. We need to encourage our children to engage their imaginations so they can meet the unforeseen challenges that tomorrow will surely bring.