Study Calls for Stronger Role for Arts in Afterschool
A new study of the role of arts in afterschool programs, drawing on data from a nationwide survey of 21st Century Community Learning Center grantees, concludes that state and local arts organizations need to take a stronger role in initiating partnerships with afterschool programs.
The publication of the study was a joint project of Americans for the Arts and the Afterschool and Community Learning Network, from authors Terry K. Peterson, Director of the Afterschool and Community Learning Network and Board Chair of the Afterschool Alliance; Associate Professor Scott Shanklin-Peterson, Director of the Arts Management Program of the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston; and Jennifer May, a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of South Carolina.
The authors surveyed a stratified random sample of 21st Century grantees. They found that afterschool providers strongly support including arts programming in their afterschool curricula. When asked to identify the most effective methods of incorporating the arts, respondents gave the highest marks to two approaches: providing workshops, field trips, story telling experiences, and development of plays; and providing musical instruments and individual or group lessons as an introduction to skills and genres of music.
A second tier of approaches, described by the authors as 'rated highly,' included exploring a different arts area each month, working with local folk and traditional artists, and creating a mentoring program in the arts area of the students' interest....
The authors identified a scarcity of resources, time, community contacts and information as significant barriers to a strong role for the arts in afterschool programming. They conclude that local and state arts organizations need to initiate partnerships with afterschool programs to facilitate arts education.