Young children’s participation in the arts and reading outside of school in 2008

A first look at data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth

Issue: 

Based on 10,309 parents responding to Statistics Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, this report provides information about the participation of young children in arts and reading activities outside of school in 2008. The report finds that:

  • 18% of children between three and seven years old "take weekly lessons or instruction in music, art or other non sport activities. On the other hand, 80% 'almost never' take lessons or instruction in music, art or other non sport activities. The remaining 2% take lessons or instruction in music, art or other non sport activities 'about once a month'."
  • 35% of children between three and seven years old "take weekly lessons or instruction in dance, gymnastics or martial arts (or 'other organized physical activities'). In contrast, about two-thirds (64%) 'almost never' take lessons or instruction in dance, gymnastics or martial arts. Only 1% of children of all age groups take lessons or instruction in dance, gymnastics or martial arts 'about once a month'."
  • "A majority of children read on their own on a daily basis: 73% of three year olds do so (including those who 'look at books'); 68% of four and five year olds do so; and 70% of six year olds read daily. The percentage is lower for seven year old children, 52% of whom read for pleasure daily. Note: The slightly different phrasing of the question for seven year olds ('read for pleasure') may have an effect on these results."

Between 1998 and 2008, there was an increase in the number of four to seven year olds doing two arts-related activities at least weekly: taking lessons in music, art or other non sport activities (14% in 1998 and 19% in 2008); and taking lessons in dance, gymnastics or martial arts (27% in 1998 and 38% in 2008).

Regarding reading activities, there was "essentially no change in the percentage of three or four year old children looking at books, magazines, comics, etc. or trying to read on their own" between 1998 and 2008. There were, however, decreases "in the number of six year olds who look at books or try to read on their own on a daily basis" (77% in 1998 and 70% in 2008) and "in the number of seven year olds who read for pleasure on a daily basis" (58% in 1998 and 52% in 2008).

The report also examines the frequency with which parents sing or read with their children. In addition, the participation of children in multiple arts and reading activities is analyzed. Variations in children's participation in the arts and reading based on a variety of demographic and geographic factors are also examined.

Summary: 

Based on 10,309 parents responding to Statistics Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, this report provides information about the participation of young children in arts and reading activities outside of school in 2008. The report finds that:

  • 18% of children between three and seven years old "take weekly lessons or instruction in music, art or other non sport activities. On the other hand, 80% 'almost never' take lessons or instruction in music, art or other non sport activities. The remaining 2% take lessons or instruction in music, art or other non sport activities 'about once a month'."
  • 35% of children between three and seven years old "take weekly lessons or instruction in dance, gymnastics or martial arts (or 'other organized physical activities'). In contrast, about two-thirds (64%) 'almost never' take lessons or instruction in dance, gymnastics or martial arts. Only 1% of children of all age groups take lessons or instruction in dance, gymnastics or martial arts 'about once a month'."
  • "A majority of children read on their own on a daily basis: 73% of three year olds do so (including those who 'look at books'); 68% of four and five year olds do so; and 70% of six year olds read daily. The percentage is lower for seven year old children, 52% of whom read for pleasure daily. Note: The slightly different phrasing of the question for seven year olds ('read for pleasure') may have an effect on these results."
Legacy ID (artUID): 
50729