At a time when educators and policymakers are placing a high priority on quality early childhood education, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced Tuesday the results of a four-year study showing that its arts integration teaching model bolsters young children’s math achievement.
Conducted by independent evaluators at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Findings from the Evaluation of the Wolf Trap Arts in Education Model (the Study) examined the effects of an arts-integrated teaching approach on teachers’ practice and students’ math knowledge.
Key findings include that:
- Students participating in Wolf Trap’s Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts (Early STEM / Arts) demonstrate better math achievement, as compared to control groups and as measured by the Early Math Diagnostic Assessment, a standard evaluation tool.
- Wolf Trap’s teacher-training includes all measurable features of high-quality professional development.
- Lessons taught by Wolf Trap-trained teachers demonstrate higher levels of arts integration, particularly with respect to linking arts with math learning.
“The effects found in this Study are quite promising and larger than the effects found in many impact studies of education interventions,” commented Study co-author Dr. Mengli Song of AIR.
Arts-integrated learning combines content and skills from the arts with core subjects such as language, literacy and math.
For example, in a pre-kindergarten classroom, a teacher might integrate mathematics and music by teaching number sense and steady beat together so that learning in one subject enhances learning in the other.
Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination” program, the randomized, controlled study took place over four years across 22 Fairfax County Public Schools. The same grant contributed to the replication of Wolf Trap’s program to 16 other Affiliate sites across the nation.
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts presents and produces a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, as well as nationally and internationally.