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7 facts about Queensland children and the arts

1. Children who have high access to the arts growing up are more likely to be supporters of the arts as adults

  • Children's frequent attendance at the arts means that as adults they are more likely to participate in and attend all types of art forms
  • They are more likely to donate to the arts with the most prominent way being volunteering, followed by donating money and contributing to crowdfunding
  • They are also more likely to engage with the arts online (3)

2. Parents play a significant role in children’s early engagement in the arts

  • 3 in 4 (76%) parents read from a book or told a story to children aged 0 to 2 years: this rises to 95% of parents of children aged 3-8 years
  • 77% of parents played music, sang songs, danced or did other musical activities with children aged 0-2 years
  • 1 in 2 (51%) assisted with drawing, writing or other creative activities
  • Well over half (59%) of parents engaged in informal learning involving music, art or another creative activity for 3-8 year olds.
  • Watching TV, videos or DVDs increases dramatically – from 61% from 0-2 years to 83% of parents of children aged 3-8 years

3. Mothers are key enablers of early learning using the arts

  • Mothers accounted for 66% of parental involvement in informal learning of children aged 0-2 years and 73% of parental involvement in informal learning of children aged 3-8 years.
  • Mothers’ involvement is much higher than either shared responsibility or fathers’ involvement.

4. One in three Queensland children participate in a cultural activity outside school

  • One third (33%) of Queensland children aged 5-14 years participated in at least one organised cultural activity – playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, drama or organised arts and craft.
  • 82% had lessons which points to an active private teaching market.
  • Girls participate at a much higher rate than boys
  • Nearly half (43%) of all girls participated in at least one organised cultural activity, compared with less than a quarter (24%) of boys. Dancing was the most popular activity for females (23%), followed by playing a musical instrument (18%)
  • Playing a musical instrument was more popular amongst boys (16%), than any other organised cultural activity but the participation rate was still less than girls
  • The participation rate for playing a musical instrument is much higher in Brisbane (21%) than in the rest of the state (13%) - but rates of participation across other organised cultural activities is similar

5.Screen-based activities are the most popular activity outside school hours

  • 87% of Queensland children aged 5-14 years accessed the internet and 29% aged 5-14 years have a mobile phone
  • 94% watched TV, DVD or videos and 81% participated in other screen based activities including the use of a computer, the internet and games consoles

6. Reading for pleasure is the second most popular recreational activity

  • 67% of Queensland children read for pleasure: the highest rate is amongst 9-11 year olds at 72%
  • 41% participated in recreational art and craft with more females (52%) than males (31%) participating. This halves with the 5-8 year olds’ participation rate at 52% compared to 12-14 year olds at 25%.

7.More than two-thirds of Queensland children (aged 5-14 years) attended a cultural venue or event outside school hours

  • 68% of Queensland children aged 5-14 years attended a public library, museum, art gallery or performing arts event outside of school hours
  • Females (71%) attend at a higher rate than males (65%)
  • Participation rates are public library (51%), museum or art gallery (43%) and performing arts event (34%)
  • Performing arts participation rates increase as children age, with children aged 5-8 years (31%) and 12-14 year olds participating at the higher rate (37%). A reverse trend is observable when you look at attendance at museum and art galleries.

Of course, the majority of access to the arts in childhood and the young adult years is in formal educational contexts. The quantity and quality of this experience is an important part of the story and more detailed data is needed to understand more fully the arts and cultural engagement of children and young people in Queensland.

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(1) Arts in Daily Life: Queenslanders and the Arts (PDF) (1.68 MB) was commissioned in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts and conducted by instinct and reason, an independent market research consultancy in late 2013.
(2) There are two Australia Bureau of Statistics surveys from which the data is drawn – one covering children 0-8 years and one covering 5-14 years and so the methodologies and questions are quite different.
Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2014 presents information on children aged 0-12 years and their families. Information presented includes: use of formal and informal care; cost and duration of care; working arrangements used by parents to care for their children; attendance at preschool programs; requirements for additional formal care or preschool; and informal learning including use of arts and culture.
Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia April 2012. The survey provides information about the participation of children aged 5 to 14 years in selected organised cultural activities and organised sports, and attendance at selected cultural venues and events outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview. The use of the Internet and mobile phones and characteristics of children who participated and the frequency and duration of their involvement in some activities is also provided. The survey collects information about children’s participation in their free time in five organised cultural activities (playing a music instrument, drama, dance and singing, and from 2012, organised art and craft), other selected leisure activities, and their attendance at cultural venues.
(3) Arts in Daily Life: Queenslanders and the Arts (PDF) (1.68 MB). This is backed by UK research that found that self-reported childhood experience of engaging in all types of culture is positively associated with engaging in culture as an adult. Arts Council of England 2010 Understanding the drivers, impact and value of engagement in culture and sport.