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Jan Synek

Rainstorms and Symphonies

Source WolfTrapMedia
(from Musical Rain—Sequencing a Music Experience with Instruments and Props)

When early elementary teachers integrate music and theater, student learning improves in reading, math, and science as they become better critical thinkers and problem solvers.

An article by Mary Gresock and Lisette Steinwald describes a rainstorm experience in which preschool and kindergarten teachers and Wolf Trap Institute-trained teaching artists use singing, dancing, and other elements of the performing arts to engage young children in more active classroom experiences and inspire learning through all of their senses. When students are exposed to arts-integrated teaching, Wolf Trap has found that learning improves across subject areas, including reading, math, and science, as they become better critical thinkers and problem solvers.

The beauty of arts integration is how the knowledge and creativity turn into a cycle of their own -- not only do the students internalize the content, but the content also serves as the vehicle for them to become artists.


The value of the performing arts in early childhood education

Independent studies of the Wolf Trap Institute model, research from the arts education and early childhood fields, and Wolf Trap’s more than 30 years of experience affirm that the infusion of arts-integration strategies into curriculum content enhances early childhood development.

This includes language and literacy, social/emotional growth, STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math), and “21st Century skills”—critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

A 2006 independent study showed that preschool children who participated in a Wolf Trap Institute’s arts-integrated residency program, Fairfax Pages, scored significantly higher on standardized tests measuring 6 key areas: initiative, social relations, creative representation, language and literacy, logic and mathematics, and movement and music. Children were assessed before and after implementation of Wolf Trap’s program using the standardized, nationally validated Child Observation Record (COR), an observational assessment tool designed by High/Scope Educational Research Foundation and implemented in Fairfax County Public Schools and early childhood programs administered by the Fairfax County Office for Children. (Klayman, 2006) The Fairfax Pages study was supported through major funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

The graph above illustrates the comparison of students in the Pages program and those who did not articipate.

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Learning analytics, educational data mining, formative assessment - all recent buzz words in educational research. In principle, the idea is to find theoretical frameworks, models, procedures, and smart tools to collect, aggregate, analyze, reason on and visualize large scale educational data. LEA’s BOX is a research and development project funded by the European Commission. The project aims at (a) making educational assessment and appraisal more goal-oriented, proactive, and beneficial for students, and (b) at enabling formative support of teachers and other educational stakeholders on a solid basis of a wide range of information about learners. That means, LEA’s BOX is a learning analytics toolbox that is intended to enable educators to perform competence-centered, multi-source learning analytics. More info at http://www.leas-box.eu!


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