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Every child can benefit from an excellent theatre arts program.

Bottom interacts with the children at a school show
Photo credit: Sandra Lauzon

Most parents understand the benefits of music lessons. We take it for granted that participation in organized sports will benefit our kids. Dance classes have never been more popular. but if you're like many parents, you may never have considered theatre training for your chilren. They can speak. They can read. Why would they benefit from acting lessons??

To look at it another way, what is there to be learned and experienced in a theatre program that could possibly warrant allocation of funds from your family’s budget for extracurricular activities – not to mention hours from your family’s busy schedule?

The answer is, A LOT – if you choose the right program. As Ann Galligan writes in Creativity, Culture, Education, and the Workforce, “The abilities to think creatively, to communicate effectively and to work collaboratively are increasingly identified as necessary skills, as essential as the fundamental abilities to read, write and use numbers.” Where are these skills learned and developed most effectively? In arts education, particularly theatre arts.

In fact, the evidence is clear: participation in a top-quality theatre arts program can have a positive and lasting impact on the social, emotional, cognitive and physical development of children and youth.

Theatre education develops skills in communication, teamwork and negotiation. It promotes socialization while stimulating imagination and creativity. Through studies of stories and texts from around the world and throughout history, theatre class helps students develops a better understanding of human behaviour and empathy with situations that might seem distant from their own lives. It also encourages the development of critical thinking skills that help children make better decisions. Theatre class encourages children to use their bodies and their voices, giving them tools to speak up, take a stand and express their own ideas in a persuasive and compelling manner.

Perhaps the real question is: can we afford NOT to let our kids experience of transformational power of theatre?

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