The Power of Learning the Arts

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Isabella Poljakovic

Getting the chance to learn and develop skills in the arts can help young people thrive.

Isabella Poljakovic, Reporter

Students in schools across WA have been honing their creative skills for decades.

It has a proven power to increase a child’s brain function and learning ability.

At America’s Princeton University, students who study the arts achieve 10 points higher on their SAT scores than those who don’t.

Most WA schools offer students the chance to study an element of the creative arts, such as drama, art or music. But these classes are often limited and schools may not have access to essential equipment, facilities or expertise.

In WA only 6 out of 602 public schools in the metropolitan area have dedicated educational programs for students who wish to study the arts.

For children to gain entry into these schools, they have to live in the local catchment area or  obtain a scholarship.

But 88% of private, independently-funded schools around Perth, have music programs for students.  Private schools in WA charge from $5000 a year for each student.

For some families the cost of enrolling their children in private schools is outweighed by the additional learning programs.

Director of music at Lake Joondalup Baptist College, Tammy Van Der Nest, believes students who study the arts develop confidence, performance skills and creative problem-solving abilities.

“The arts can offer a safe place for students who don’t necessarily fit in the mainstream, celebrate talents other than book smarts.

“I’ve seen more than one student who was nearly dropping out of school, low attendance and performance, turn their life around by being involved in a production,” says Ms Van Der Nest.