Since last term, dancing has been of particular interest to our children, an interest that has extended enthusiastically into this term. Moving to music is something most children seem to be drawn to, especially if the music happens to be a song titled ‘Let it go’ from the movie Frozen!
Te Whāriki states “Children experience an environment where they discover different ways to be creative and expressive. There is an expectation that music and dance can amuse, delight, illuminate, inform and excite.” (Ministry of Education, 1996, p.80).
Listening to music and dancing is a creative experience which involves our expression of feelings. It is great to see some children grow in confidence while dancing with others. We have noticed that in some cases children often do not have the words to expressive themselves and dancing seems to provide a positive platform to assist children in releasing these emotions. It’s a pleasure watching all the children being so facially expressive as well as using their arms and body to show their appreciation of the beauty of music and dance.
“Dance is expressive and creative. It not only arouses our emotional consciousness but also improves the intellectual faculties as our mind learns, receives impressions, selects, manipulates and solves dance problems”. (Hinkley, 1980)
When our children request a certain song or style of music to dance it never takes long before others hear and come to join in. It’s always such a social occasion where both girls and boys share their joy of dancing. For some of our children it provides an opportunity to share their dance moves from their own culture or from their dance classes, such as ballet. When children dance together it can help them feel part of the group, as well as reinforce their sense of belonging.
“Music and movement are both important in the lives of children. Experiences have been shown to affect the development of the whole child. Early experiences have even been shown to affect abilities in later years.” (Jill M. Davis, 2010)
The song ‘Let it go’ is definitely a clear favourite to dance to, however other types of music also draw children in to dance. It seems to me that children naturally love music and the patterns, rhythm and differences in sounds. When the music changes from slow to fast, they quickly change their dance to suit, whether it is classical, pop, or hip hop.
“Dance is story telling through movement. Over time, children build their skills and deepen their understanding of rhythm and song and how it relates to the visual art of dance. Regardless of skill or experience, dance gives children a freedom to move in a way that reflects their uniqueness.” (Benefit of Dance, 2012).
Dancing has so much to offer especially for young children where research states that early years dance experience will help children develop body control, co-ordination, balance and spatial awareness, as well as a range of gross motor movements and fine motor movements. (Mandy Fouracre, 2012)
Here are some of our children’s thoughts about dancing:
Sadie: “I like the music and I like to dance to ‘Let it go’.
Toby: “I like doing the hippo dance, like this (jumping). I love doing the dolphin splashing dance like this.”
Danielia: “I like the scarfs. I like dancing at home with my mummy.”Ruby: “Dancing makes me happy. I like dancing to the Elsa song.”
Sharlotte: “It makes me happy too, I like dancing to the window open song.”
Ben: “I watch foxy dance, I do the foxy dance and Freddie dances sometimes. I’m excited.”Milla: “I love doing move dance. I dance at home with my family. It makes me happy. I love the eye of the tiger song.”
Dance is a way for children to communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings in a non-verbal manner. Mandy Fouracre, 2012Ngā mihi, Susie