Giving Compass' Take:

Researchers found that preschoolers exposed to the arts have higher academic achievement patterns than ones that do not participate in arts education programs.

How can education philanthropists promote the arts in early childhood education?

Read about an arts education program that helps prepare children for kindergarten.

While art, music and drama are part of many early-childhood education programs, researchers — and educators — still have a lot of questions about how these experiences benefit children in the early grades and as they continue through school.

Such questions have grown even more relevant for school and district leaders since passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which provides multiple opportunities for the arts to be part of a “well-rounded” education.

A special section of the most recent Early Childhood Research Quarterly (ECRQ) provides some answers. For example, one study focuses on preschoolers who attended an arts-themed Head Start program at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. Children in the program participate in daily music, dance and visual arts instruction in addition to being in classrooms using the Creative Curriculum program.

“The study suggests the arts can serve as a mechanism for promoting school readiness skills,” Brown said last week during a webinar hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Office of Research and Analysis.

The research builds on Brown’s earlier work, funded by an NEA Art Works grant, showing how the arts in early childhood can particularly benefit children living in poverty, who face challenges such as high mobility, neighborhood violence and other risk factors.

Early exposure to the arts is important, researchers say — and may be especially important for children with the greatest needs — because students’ participation has been associated with higher achievement in school.

Read the full article about effects of the arts on pre schoolers by Linda Jacobson at Education Dive