In a recent article published on www.parentmap.com, researchers say there's reason to believe music stimulates your infant's brain, dance helps develop motor skills, and drama teaches emotions and problem solving.
"The arts are a thinking tool, a way for children to communicate understanding and misunderstandings and confront them," says Margie Carter, an early childhood specialist who has co-authored many books, including Training Teachers: A Harvest of Theory and Practice.
"If you turn an idea into a drawing or sculpture, you can figure out things you'd never figure out if you just try to explain. The purpose of the arts goes way beyond creativity and imagination."
Exposure to the arts is a critical school readiness component.
School is so much more than reading, writing and arithmetic, acting can help children learn about self-control, empathy or even bullying. It is a way to problem solve, to learn to deal with frustrations, conflict resolving and social situations.
Drama and storytelling are good ways to help increase a child's vocabulary, A 3-year-old can get up and act like an animal; other children can describe what they see. And a child who is performing must remember what step comes first. It enhances mental organization.
Music, as well as the visual arts, drama and dance, give us insight into the way a child's mind works. They show us what kids understand. We should build upon those as another form of literacy.