Children spend lots of time playing and learning together. Whether at home, in child care, or in school, they frequently do art projects in small groups such as creating stages for their puppets or writing and illustrating their own books. How do these kinds of artistic experiences influence their learning and social skills?

More than 2,000 children in grades 4 to 8, living in four East-coast states, were studied by researchers from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. They found that children who cooperate with each other on lots of visual arts projects take advantage of these opportunities to learn from and to share with each other. Results of the study were released in a book entitled Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning.

Think about the possibilities! Children working on art in a group plan, construct, and analyze their own progress and results. They negotiate decisions among themselves. They need to share and collaborate in order to create art. What a great way for students to learn skills that they can apply in school and the rest of their lives. (Source: Burton, Horowitz, & Abeles, 1999)