When children start to engage with the arts, that ultimately leads to them engaging with their communities, says Linda Weise, CEO of Colorado Springs Conservatory (CSC), which provides world-class performing arts programs, classes and camps for students of all ages.
“It’s a different level of engagement. Ultimately they may turn around and build neighborhoods and communities and create positive changes,” Weise says.
A great way for parents to encourage children to participate in the arts is to lead by example. Here are three great ways to do just that.
- Teach Them About All The Options in Their Community
“Where we see kids really excelling is when parents instill from a very early age that there are countless options, whether it’s learning how to folk dance or going to a book signing at the library,” Weise says.
Though it can definitely be difficult to find the time and energy, this is one of the greatest ways to lead by example and ensure that your child will take the initiative to continue to support the arts in the future.
“When parents say, ‘Instead of sitting in front of computer or on the couch, let’s go to this free concert,’ or ‘I bought season tickets for this children’s series at the local puppet theater,’ then you start to help kids understand not just the breadth of the arts, but also the fact that there are choices. It doesn’t always have to be a Broadway ticket.”
- Engage With Them and Learn Something Together
CSC offers midday piano classes that allow adults of all skill levels to come during their lunch breaks. This can be a great way to relate to a child who’s also developing an artistic skill.
“When your kid’s at home and they say ‘can you help me,’ you can say, ‘Yeah – let’s do it together!” Weise says.
CSC has also partnered with Citizen Soldier Connection to offer piano, guitar, voice, songwriting and recording arts to military members and their families. This is a great way for families to strengthen their bonds by learning something together.
“Military families know how precious time is,” Weise says. “They often enroll in classes and say, ‘I’m only home for eight months, can I please bring my teenage son? This is the only quality time we have together.’”
- Listen to Your Kids – and Don’t Dismiss Their Interests!
If your child starts showing interest in a specific art form, try not to be dismissive just because you’re not interested or don’t consider yourself artistic. Listen to what they’re saying and figure out how to help.
“If your kid comes home and says, ‘I really want to be a videographer,’ take it upon yourself to find ways to expose and excite that kid,” Weise says. That can mean finding a local film society and asking them for help.
“Once kids gain access to the community in creative ways, they start seeing possibilities,” Weise says. “Kids learn to elevate their community through arts when they grow up being exposed to all different kinds of it.”
Founded in 1994, Colorado Springs Conservatory’s mission is to inspire, motivate and challenge all students to aspire to their highest potential as artists and as human beings through arts immersion studies and community arts advocacy participation. For more information, call (719) 577-4556 or visit ColoradoSpringsConservatory.org.
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