well evidenced and extend to developing children’s cognitive skills and improving their performance across the wider curriculum.

Confidence While traditional schools are paring down the time and importance given to the performing arts, parents who want to instil those skills in their children can turn to dedicated performing arts schools. The benefits to children, from aged three to

18, are unmissable. The key changes are to their self-confidence and self-esteem – both of which are invaluable tools for facing adult life. Singing, acting and dancing in class takes children out of their comfort zone in a fun and safe environment as they perform in front of friends, family and peers. It takes courage to participate in a practical performance: standing up on a stage, risking forgetting a line or tripping in a dance routine. The confidence that comes from performing arts is naturally transferred into everyday life and will help children in a variety of different social situations - making them more comfortable answering questions in their lessons, giving presentations and successfully interviewing for university places and jobs later on in life. The ability to confidently present and

communicate effectively are invaluable skills, and it is very apparent when people lack them as adults. A candidate may be the perfect choice for a role, but if they are unable to sell themselves articulately, they are unlikely to impress their interviewer. Singing, dancing and acting in front of people helps to banish insecurities, which, if allowed to remain, can plague people throughout their lives. While education teaches you to go into further education, the performing arts equip you with life skills to carve a successful path. A student at Make Believe’s Leytonstone

branch joined the school at the age of six, suffering from mutism. She was confident in the familiarity of her own home but wouldn’t say a word outside the house. Her teachers at day school were unable to get her speaking, and it took six months at performing arts school to coax ‘hello’ from her, but she progressed to entirely normal interactive behaviour swiftly after the first word. The format of performing arts encourage

Editor’s Choice 2020

her to build her confidence and self-belief until she felt comfortable in that environment, sufficiently so to form friendships and perform in front of her peers.

Empathy Children are naturally self-centred and so studying characterisation for an acting role helps them develop empathy. In order to accurately portray a character, it is essential that the actor can step into their shoes to understand and appreciate their present situation to portray. To achieve this, it is necessary to understand the decisions and actions that have brought them to the instance being depicted. This dictates that children must consider the emotions of another and how they may be feeling, which is then more easily replicated to real life and their own family and peer group to aid full emotional development, a healthy EQ, deep and meaningful connections and inform the way they react to situations throughout their lives.

Listening The ability to listen, retain information and act accordingly is an important skill for personal and professional situations. Children learn listening from their parents, teachers and friends, but taking direction on stage is a more effective way of developing this skill. Stage direction can not only change the course of a scene, but it encourages children to be more receptive to the thoughts and ideas of others if they are willing to listen and work together. Additional benefits to this skill acquisition include a reduced likelihood of a confrontational nature, helping children to be better respected among their peers. Effective listening within a group also adds to the sense of camaraderie and encourages teamwork among children who are part of a larger cast. Performances are a big commitment that require large groups of people to pull together as a team to ensure the best possible performance.

Problem solving Children are often encouraged to use their imaginations when confronted with an issue, and nothing stimulates the imagination like participation in the performing arts. The stage presents endless opportunities to paint a scene

with limited space or access to objects, encouraging budding thespians to devise ways to depict a horse or car, for example, out of props. The ability to solve problems creatively within the safety of a performing arts environment can be transferred to everyday life when dealing with a variety of issues. If children feel comfortable exploring and dealing with problems in a non- linear way, they become more confident and self- sufficient.

Physiological and emotional impact A study by the Universities of York and Sheffield found that, like most sports, dancing improves heart and lung function, muscular strength, endurance, motor fitness and weight management releases. However, it has also been found to release more endorphins than typical aerobic movement, reducing stress and stimulating emotional release. With children who spend too much time on their phone often exhibiting symptoms of depression, dancing could be a mitigating factor leading to increased overall happiness and healthiness. Happy children will always excel, both academically and emotionally with healthy friendships and a balanced outlook that will accompany them to adulthood.

The national curriculum The world view offered by performing arts allows the individual to understand that budget cuts will erode opportunities, but this is not done lightly. There are other areas that must be addressed within the finite budget, such as the homelessness and elderly health inequality crises. However, it is imperative that the performing

arts are part of the national curriculum as children develop skills that they will not necessarily pick up elsewhere. As well as building their confidence, the dynamic of the performing arts helps children develop social skills, presentation skills, spatial awareness, creativity, motivation and – importantly in the current day – it broadens their interest and gives them an outlet to positively channel their natural energy. We need to produce scientists, mathematicians

and engineers, for example, who bring wealth to the economy and so schools will emphasise academia. But we also need culture through the arts, and this needs to start at school. 29

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68