The Junior Drummer Kit: Child Development

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As a result of new technologies that permit us to see into the brain, we now know that early experience not only has a psychological impact on development, it also has a physical impact on the neural pathways that allow a child to understand and process information effectively and to manage emotion. With that in mind, ongoing public engagement campaigns are being developed to teach parents and other care givers about the experiences that are most essential to infant development. And, in all parts of the country, health, education, and human service organizations are reaching out in new ways to support parents and other care givers in applying what they know.

A close look at what constitutes the best kind of experience for infants and young children leads quickly to the arts. From a baby's first lullaby, to a three-year-old's experimentation with finger paint, to a seven-year-old's dramatization of a favorite story, developmentally appropriate arts experience is critical. For all children, at all ability levels, the arts play a central role in cognitive, motor, language, and social-emotional development. The arts motivate and engage children in learning, stimulate memory and facilitate understanding, enhance symbolic communication, promote relationships, and provide an avenue for building competence. The arts are natural for young children. Child development specialists note that play is the business of young children; play is the way children promote and enhance their development. The arts are a most natural vehicle for play.

Young Children and the Arts: Making Creative Connections. This document is an Arts Education Partnership (AEP) publication. In this document the Task Force on Learnings and the Arts: Birth to Age Eight presents guiding pronciples and examples of activities suggested for the appropriate age groups of children. You can download this report by clicking on the image to the left. It is an Acrobat PDF file.

Researchers have found significant correlations between in-school art and music programs and the creative, cognitive and personal aptitudes required for academic success. While non-arts academia focus on learning a single scope of knowledge or developing one skill set, the art and music learning experience engages a multitude of skills and abilities. Evidence indicates that students involved in arts programs reach higher levels of overall achievement than those who do not participate in the arts. Studies also revealed that the academic playing field is leveled between socioeconomic populations when incorporating art and music programs. In addition, art and music programs stimulate personal awareness within students, create bonding connections with peers, and fuel more involvement with their communities, including the development of cognitive, social and personal capabilities.

In 1995, The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) was formed through agreements between the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It is an organization comprised of over one-hundred national educational, arts, business, philanthropic and government organizations united “to demonstrate and promote the essential role of arts education in enabling all students to succeed in school, life and work” ( In 2000, the AEP collaborated with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to produce the report, Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning.

Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning. This document compiles the statistical results and analysis from several different groups of qualified educational researchers. You can download this report by clicking on the image to the left. It is an Acrobat PDF file.



The Arts Education Partnership

National Association for Music Education
(Music Education Resource)




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Steve Clark's Junior Drummer Kit: For Teachers