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On Their Toes

Performing arts nurture children’s mind, body and spirit

What could be cuter than a young performer belting out a song or dancing across a stage? For parents, those pride-filled moments are unforgettable.

Early engagement in the arts – visual and performing – fosters a child’s cognitive, motor, language, social and emotional development.

If your child shows an early yearning for the spotlight, nurture and let your child enjoy her newfound interest. Whether learning voice or movement, theater or visual art, parents should look for age appropriate training and pick instructors who understand that pushing children too early and too strenuously can cause physical and mental damage.

The Patel Conservatory’s training programs begin slowly, with toddler classes that focus on developing the children’s natural talents. As your child begins to craft and hone his skills, there are classes for prekindergarteners to high school seniors to allow him to grow and learn more.

The arts serve as a critical component to a complete education and are proven to increase student academic achievement. Studies show that young people who consistently participate in comprehensive, sequential and rigorous arts programs are:

Four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement

Three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools

Four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair

Three times more likely to win an award for school attendance

Four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem

How can parents be sure they’re getting the best training? Nancy Garma, a vocal coach at the Patel Conservatory suggests speaking with a schoolteacher or a doctor for a recommendation. Parents also can seek recommendations from friends and family.

Well-designed and executed arts education, like the Patel Conservatory’s, leads to overall improved academic performance, builds skills necessary for success and has a positive influence on the lives of students. In addition, research has shown that access to and participation in quality arts programs helps decrease and prevent negative behavior by at-risk youth.

“Make sure it looks like the lesson is appropriate, rather than overwhelming, for the majority of the class,” says Melissa Stafford, dance program manager at the Patel Conservatory. “Instructors should be correcting every student in the class, not just focusing on a couple who are doing well.”

The Patel Conservatory’s faculty of professional teachers and performers is not only trained to facilitate each child’s specific needs but is also there to make sure everyone learns and grows in a safe, fun environment.

In Tampa, we are lucky enough to have cultural establishments, including the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Patel Conservatory, that help the arts thrive. So this new school year, explore some of your child’s hidden talents and nurture them. Your child could be tomorrow’s superstar.

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