We know this already, but it’s always nice to have some science to back it up 🙂
How Learning Dance in School Can Produce Smarter Kids by Sheri Leblanc
“Using dance to teach standard subjects allows students to have fun with the material, but also helps them gain a deeper understanding of concepts by approaching them from new angles. “
“In dance class, Carter explains, students practice physical exercises that “‘stimulate mental alertness, modeling, sequencing, attention to detail, and memorization skills’… —thereby promoting the learning process.” “
Dance Basics is an introduction to dance for students of all ages. Students will explore the curriculum’s elements of dance (body, space, force & time) through basic dance movements in a chosen style of dance. Modern, Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, cultural dance and combinations of styles are available. The movements will be combined in sequences and students will explore different pathways through space. Working together to create a short composition, students will learn basic dance vocabulary and experiment with creative movement and improvisation.
Exercise is good for both the body and the brain. In the classroom it can exponentially improve students’ learning and retention of material by engaging their whole selves in the learning process.
Movement raises students’ heart rates, increasing circulation and getting oxygen to the brain. Exercise increases the levels of ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain and gives learners a sense of physical and emotional well-being. Students will improve their mental focus by creating mind-body connections, leading to increased alertness and reduced fidgeting and fighting. And of course, the movement experience is lots of fun!
Dance, more specifically, has the added benefits of challenging learner’s minds and engaging the emotions. Learning group and individual movement sequences involves creative thinking and problem-solving and enhances teamwork and interpersonal skills. The opportunity for personal expression leads to improved emotional IQ, and increases students’ self-confidence through movement proficiency.
This intermediate exercise teaches students to move together and communicate without speaking.
- Have students stand in a clump, all facing the same direction. Choose a student at the front of the clump to be the first leader.
- The leader begins to move their arms slowly, and the group behind follows. Depending on the size of the group, students at the back of the clump may not be able to see the leader, but that is not a problem. They simply need to follow the students directly in front of them.
- After a few minutes, the leader will turn slightly and the group will follow until they are facing a new direction. The student who is now at the front of the clump will become the new leader and continue from the movement of the previous leader.
- Once students master changing leaders as the movement turns, they can add travelling steps to their arm movements. Move slowly at first, especially with a large group, so that the students learn to move together and shift seamlessly from one leader to the next.
A combination of dance and yoga movements will get students moving in a variety of fun ways and bring the benefits of physical activity into the classroom. Exploring the basic elements of physical fitness as well as how to move together as a group, students will learn to balance the effects of sitting at a desk through movement. Teachers can use the techniques in this workshop in their classroom to help students warm up their bodies and focus their minds.
Want to get your class moving every day? In this workshop you’ll explore the beneficial effects of movement on the brain and develop a toolbox of tricks that will warm-up, focus and inspire your students in just a few minutes every day. You’ll also learn how to incorporate movement into your lesson plans to reinforce classroom learning and help students (especially those kinesthetic learners!) stay engaged.
Creative thinking skills are essential to the healthy development of today’s students, and they need opportunities to learn in creative ways. The Movement Experience workshops shows students new ways to solve problems that they may have struggled with on paper. All students will benefit from physically acting out the steps of solving problems as the action will reinforce classroom lessons and support the development of muscular memory.
Students also benefit on a social and emotional level by practicing group participation and learning group leadership skills in Movement Experience Workshops. Movement increases body awareness, and movement activities in a positive environment will give students an opportunity to gain confidence in their bodies and their movement skills. Improved self-awareness through movement will also promote increased emotional intelligence, and by playing different roles students will have the chance to reinforce what they’ve learned through teaching and guiding others and thus build confidence in their own movement skills.