Last week I had the opportunity to experience a dance and movement class with young children who are attending The Treasure House Child Development Center in Covington, Kentucky. 4C was asked to connect a local author, Connie Dow to a NAEYC accredited center for the opportunity to gain information and pictures of young children for an article that would be written for the NAEYC magazine “Young Children” and her new book. My experience was wonderful. I not only got to witness the smiles and joy on the faces of these young children as they danced with the Dance and Movement Specialist, Danielle Ashley but I encountered children taking a trip on a boat, riding the ocean waves, creeping through a jungle and crawling, galloping and soaring to music. This is just a glimpse into the excitement in store for young children who are offered the opportunity to participate in creative dance.
In all these examples, the children are solving tasks and problems both individually and together with the group. They are learning to approach problems kinesthetically, and exploring innovative solutions. In addition to nurturing creativity, guided movement sessions help children practice listening skills, develop body control, and discover a new form of self-expression, all whil participating in fun and lively movement activities.
Creative dance is often missing from the early childhood arena. Children are moving the instant they are born, and it is what they do from the moment they wake up in the morning. Dance packs a particularly powerful punch in the daily lives of children, because it is both an art form and a physical activity. Thus, it offers the positive experience of exploring a creative art form, with the added benefits that lively physical activities can bring. Connie states, “Dancing and movement have important components on why they are so important for children”. “Accessibility, Curriculum Enrichment, Physical Development, Fight Against Obesity, Social and Emotional Development, Creativity, Brain Development to mention a few. Current research is showing that movement and exercise can spark new brain-cell growth and actually facilitate learning.
Evidence is mounting about the benefits of movement in the learning process. Once educators and parents alike become familiar with movement and its many benefits, it is my hope that instead of “What is creative movement?” the question will be “Why not creative movement?” I thank Connie Dow and Danielle Ashley and all the children at Treasure House Child Development Center for a wonderful morning of dance and movement and sharing your wonderful smiles and giggles….it started my day in the most perfect way!