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Why Art Makes Kids Smarter

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The National PTA has been honoring students' artistic achievements through the Reflections Program since 1969, and this year Parenting is proud to be the official national media sponsor. More than 500,000 students in pre-K through high school enter each year in one of six categories: musical composition, literature, visual arts, photography, film production, and dance choreography. Their work goes through four levels of judging at the local and state levels, before reaching the nationals. (Check out some of last year's entries at "Reflections is so much more than a contest," says Chantay Carter, program coordinator for arts and education at the National PTA in Washington, DC. "I've heard incredible stories that it's helped kids who never thought they were smart actually raise their hand in class because they won a medal." Get all the details on the program at And while you're there, check out the Mary Lou Anderson matching-grant program, as well. This fund (named for Reflections's founder) provides up to $1,000 to local PTAs serving at-risk kids who want to establish an arts program in their school.


Nancy Kalish is coauthor of The Case Against Homework.