Grant to Walters, Hopkins aims to boost kids' cognitive abilities

The Walters Art Museum and Johns Hopkins University have received a $50,000 grant to create museum programs aimed at fostering cognitive development in preschoolers.

The program, which will involve museum curators and researchers from the university's Brain Science Institute and the Department of Cognitive Science, will create a program for 3- to 5-year-old children that's tentatively called "Start With Art."

The scientists hope to measure the impact of arts programming on children's attention span, comprehension and memory. Improving these skills could translate into higher grades once these youngsters enter the classroom.

"We know early learning programs help children reach their full potential in school and life," Susan Magsamen, Director of Interdisciplinary Programs at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said in a news release.

"We also know that highly enriched sensory experiences enhance learning. What better place than the Walters to create a research-based program that builds on interdisciplinary expertise?"