Research Finds Extracurricular Activities a Must for Child Development

Finds Art Aids Brain Development, Function and Complete Education

January 23, 2008 // // ELGIN, Ill. – As school administrators continue to cut back on extraneous costs, they often look to the arts and other activities as options for removal. But recent research finds the arts should not be the sacrificial lamb when administrators look to eliminate programs and tighten budgets. The arts develop brain function, development, special reasoning, visualization, fine motor skills and several other critical skills for development, according to the study published in the American School Board Journal and researched by the renowned Kenneth A. Wesson.

Young Rembrandts, the leader in after-school programs designed to teach children the power of art, took a hard look at the results of the research. According to this research conducted by Wesson, participating in the arts are vital steps in learning to read and other academic skills. "Exciting new research consistently indicates a strong correlation between the arts, cognitive development and academic success," said Kenneth Wesson, an international consultant on neuroscience and education. "Quality programs such as Young Rembrandts teach not only art, but other life-long skills, such as visualization, spacial reasoning and fine motor skills." According to this research, involvement in the arts, particularly drawing, develops the following skills at an accelerated rate in children:

· Ability to create abstractions and mental processes in the abstracts
· Helps visualize images that words represent as children learn to read
· Develop fine motor skills, a prerequisite for writing
· Develops sustained attention and patience
· Cultivates one of the multiple intelligence's identified by Harvard University's Howard Gardner
· Develops the whole brain and the whole child
· Please see SIDEBAR A for an example of how the arts develop the brain.

So What Now?

As parents and teachers look for quality and affordable activities in their communities, they might not know where to turn, especially with the busy lifestyles today. Young Rembrandts, an innovative program designed to teach youth the power of drawing, provides after-school programs at schools and community centers internationally and classes can be found on their web site at

In addition, states also are taking notice of the arts. Recognizing the importance, states are adapting standards for the arts just as much as they're adapting standards for math and science. Several leading school districts have revitalized their plan:

· New York City: Committed $75 million a year to hire new art teachers.
· Chicago: Transformed 47 of its elementary schools into arts magnet schools.
· Baltimore: Budgeted $93 million for art.
· Los Angeles: Created a $190 million 10-year plan to revamp the arts.
· At the state level, the Education Commission of the States encouraged legislation guaranteeing arts for all K-12 students.
· Arkansas Governor Huckabee is known for his program he started called, "The Arts – A Lifetime of Learning."

"A key principle for Young Rembrandts is that art can be taught and this innovative research backs up our claims," said Bette Fetter, founder of Young Rembrandts and parent of four children. "This research finds that teaching art is parallel to teaching precise thinking and harvests concentration. Our philosophies at Young Rembrandts applaud and extend those notions."

More about Young Rembrandts

For nearly 20 years, Young Rembrandts has taught the power of drawing to children. It partners with day care centers, pre-schools, elementary schools and community recreation centers to supply or augment the art program. Young Rembrandts teaches drawing, the fundamental skill of all visual arts to children aged 3 ½ to 12.

The proprietary method and step-by-step curriculum dispels the myth that art is a talent a child has or doesn't have, and demonstrates that art can be learned by all children. Children taught using this method develop increased patience, discipline and focus as well as a host of artistic skills such as art history, drawing and art skills, and expanded creativity, imagination and confidence.

In 2000, Bette and her husband, Bill Fetter, franchised Young Rembrandts Inc. Currently, Young Rembrandts teaches about 30,000 students each week nationwide. The goal, Fetter notes, is to reach at least 200,000 students across the nation through parent-funded programs.

For more information about Young Rembrandts, its founder or its franchises, please visit

Journalist Note: To request a copy of the research, interview Kenneth Wesson or Bette Fetter, please contact Molly Lynch at 773/505-9719 or via email at


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