Document Type



Kathryn O'Connor

Publication Date



This paper is restricted to on-campus users at Connecticut College until May 15, 2021.


The role of the education system is to support students emotionally, academically, and culturally. As prominent scholars have suggested, social and emotional development is affected by a combination of personal characteristics and the environment. If children grow up in a neighborhood with high crime rates or high poverty levels, skills, socioemotional or otherwise, can be compromised. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the connections between arts programs in schools and the development of socioemotional skills in children from communities which are considered vulnerable or at risk. Despite the lack of experimental research providing statistical evidence of connections between socioemotional development and the arts, this piece reviews the current literature and examines several policies and their economic and political feasibility. Fundamentally, this thesis is advocating for arts education and arts programs in schools as ways to encourage personal expression, reflection, and connection for students whose social context may cause stress or trauma.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.