Children should have learning experiences beyond traditional classroom studies. Bilingualism, music, art, and nature can provide these types of experiences. Each one influences children in positive and significant ways. Many studies show that they enhance students’ learning processes, creativity, and social skills. This article will discuss the benefits children receive from bilingualism, music, art, and nature in further depth.
- Bilingualism– There are many benefits to students receiving a bilingual education. Research has shown that bilingual children have more advanced cognitive skills than children who only speak one language. This is because the ability to switch consistently between two languages helps students with brain functions such as inhibition, switching attention, and memory. Students who are bilingual often perform better on tasks where multi-tasking is required as well, such as decision making and problem solving. These advanced cognitive skills will help children not only succeed in school, but in life. Students with a bilingual education will have more options when considering higher education, which will in turn provide more career opportunities. Bilingualism also helps students to better accept other cultures, which will allow them to thrive in today’s diverse society.
- Music– There are also many benefits to children learning music. According to a recent study by the Children’s Music Workshop, learning music helps children build language skills. Musical training develops the left side of the brain, which is the part that is involved in language processing. When this side of the brain is developed, students read and speak more competently. These skills will greatly improve their success as adults.
Since musician’s brains experience more neural growth than non-musicians, music improves other skills as well. Children in the study by the Children’s Music Workshop went through 15 months of weekly music instruction and, after this time period, their brain images showed significant changes in the areas of sound discrimination and fine motor tasks. The study also showed that the students’ spatial-temporal skills improved, which are useful skills for solving multistep problems in fields such as architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming, and working with computers.
Additionally, music provides intrinsic benefits to children such as learning self-discipline and how to manage performance. Music enhances how they think and express themselves, as well as their understanding of world.
- Art– Children benefit greatly from the arts as well. The integration of art in schools helps raise students’ achievement levels and promotes growth in their social skills. According to a new study from the Houston Education Research Consortium, adding time for dance, theater, and visual arts in schools can help students in many ways. An arts education can boost students’ compassion for their classmates, decrease discipline problems, and improve students’ scores on writing tests.
A performing arts education can also help students with learning disabilities to succeed. Dr. Stephen Gaynor, who runs a specialized performing arts school for students with learning disabilities, firmly believes that schools like his can help students improve their expressive and receptive language skills, as well as their comprehension skills in reading and math.
Another benefit of art is that it helps children build creativity. For example, when they use chalk to draw on the sidewalk, children experience different senses. They notice the brightness of the various colors and use their hands to mix the colors together. The use of all five senses is very important in a child’s creative development. Another activity that develops a child’s sense of creativity is the observation of their surroundings. For example, a child might observe a building and then represent it by either drawing an elaborate picture of it or recreating a model of it using a variety of objects.Creativity is a crucial piece to whole child development, which children need to become well-rounded and successful adults.
- Nature– Nature has a very positive impact on the creative development of children as well. Exploring nature helps them learn how the world works and view it through a new lens. They do this through learning how to appreciate things in the environment, such as trees and the way they change with the seasons. For example, children learn about growth and renewal of life through the observation of a tree’s lush green leaves in spring.
Nature also fosters enjoyment of different subjects, which deepens learning. For example, nature can help students enjoy writing in a new way because it can provide unique writing tools and surfaces. Natural tools like sticks, stones, evergreen boughs, pineapple tops, and dandelion heads can be used to write, draw, and paint. Children can also use nature to produce different ink colors like blue from berry juice, red from cranberries, black from charcoal, and so on. Children can explore various writing surfaces in nature as well, such as birch bark, tile, cork, tree stumps, granite, parchment paper, and plywood. These surfaces have different textures, which produce different effects when children experiment with them.
Finally, nature has the added benefit of helping children with their mental health. The Aarhus University in Denmark studied one million Danish residents between 1985 and 2013 and determined that children who were surrounded by green spaces were 55% less likely to develop mental health issues as adults. The study factored in education levels, income levels, and family histories of mental health, but the results remained the same despite these differences. As long as children were exposed to nature in some form, they showed an increase in mental health. It didn’t matter if those spaces were wilderness areas, public parks, or urban green spaces. The researchers hypothesized that this fascinating improvement was caused by the children being able to get more exercise. Another theory was that the children experienced a psychological connection and felt more at peace when in a natural environment. Although the reason remains a mystery, the fact of the matter is that children who have access to nature have a better chance of being mentally well as adults.
Bilingualism, music, art, and nature have many benefits for children. Research has shown that these influences have a positive impact on children’s cognitive abilities, as well as their creative and social skills. Bilingualism, music, art, and nature help stimulate brain growth more than traditional studies would do alone. With these powerful influences, children are better prepared for success in school and in life.