Arts Integration: A Promising Approach to Improving Early Learning

Meredith Ludwig, Mary Beth Marklein, and Mengli Song

The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts offers professional development (PD) to early childhood teachers built on the philosophy that dance, music, and drama can help young children master skills across a range of subjects. Research has found that this approach, termed arts integration, has great potential for improving student learning in multiple disciplines.

This brief builds on the results of a randomized-controlled trial of Wolf Trap’s Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts program, conducted by AIR in concert with the Fairfax County Public Schools in northern Virginia between 2010 and 2014. Findings from the study show that participation in the program yielded a significant positive effect equivalent to one to two months of learning.