A review of the literature on the benefits of the visual and performing arts for elementary school children

Melissa Pasa, California State University, Monterey Bay

Capstone Project (B.A.) Liberal Studies Department


This capstone investigates the importance of the visual and performing arts for children who are at the elementary school age. Due to the fact that the No Child Left Behind Act does not effectively recognize the arts as a core academic subject, many students are missing out on all that the arts have to offer. This capstone explores the extensive amount of lifelong benefits that the arts provide and the permanent place that they have in all schools curriculum. Based on numerous findings and studies from researchers in the field of art and education, the benefits that students gain are rich, meaningful and are sustained in and out of the classroom. Please note that the visual and performing arts are sometimes referred to simply as "the arts" throughout this paper. Please also note that the visual and performing arts include activities such as: visually creating a piece of art not limited to a drawing, painting or sculpture, creating a plays, participating in structured and unstructured play where different roles are taken on by students, singing, dancing, playing insturments, and other activties where students are participating in activties that are in the subject area of art.