Inspiring “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum- For Preschoolers

Author: Jessica Clayton

I am often times asked why I started Dance Exploration. The answer I always give is,

“Although there are several great mobile companies, there is a general lack of educational aspects in their curriculum. The mobile companies, especially in Colorado, focus more so on the recreational aspect of dance. This is fine, great actually! I believe every one and every company who brings dance to children is doing a wonderful service. I just wanted to offer these children more in regards to dance. I wanted to teach children how dance can be used as a tool to foster their learning.”

Growing up as an active dancer, I always used dance to motivate myself to get through school. Without dance, I probably would not have been the great student that I was. My father made it very clear that if grades dropped, there would be no more dance! So I wanted to be sure when creating my “Dance to Learn!” curriculum that students were taught how dance can be used as a motivator, not merely just a fun activity. Dance involves memorization of steps, focus on performing steps correctly, and determination in continued growth. All of these qualities can be certainly be included in dance curriculum every where!

Our Recipe for Success was developed to incorporate these important life lessons as well as what the children are learning in school.

Recipe for Success
——————————————————————————–

Classes are made up of the following Ingredients to ensure that children receive the most out of their dance classes. The Recipe for Success ensures that our Mission “Dance to Learn” is fulfilled by including not only dance principles but also concepts that will help a child with their development and schooling.

3/4 Moving and Shaking

Warm Ups
Across the floor
Center Work
Choreography

1/3 Development Skills

Cognitive Skills
Motor Skills
Language Skills
Social Skills

1/3 School Subjects

Reading
Writing
Math
Spelling
Science
History
Art
Music
Vocabulary
Foreign Language

1/3 Life Lessons

Determination
Motivation
Problem Solving
Critical Thinking
Peer Relations
Team Work

1 Dose Healthy Living

+ A Ton of Fun=

“Success in School and in Life!”

——————————————————————————–

The Dance Exploration, LLC “Dance to Learn!” curriculum incorporates not only basic dance principles, but also focuses on important learning aspects.

For Preschoolers

Our “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum for preschoolers focuses on the student’s development as a whole not just motor development. We incorporate motor, cognitive, social and language exercises. Let’s take a closer look at our “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum!

Motor Development
Every Dance Exploration, LLC class focuses on locomotor and non-loco motor development as well as fine motor skills.

Locomotor Skills Taught:
Walking, Running, Crawling, Skipping, Marching, Galloping, etc

Non-Locomotor Skills Taught:
Twisting, Shaking, Stretching, Pulling, Pushing, Turning, Swaying, Bending, etc

Fine Motor Skills Taught:
Grasping Objects, Writing with props, Holding Hands, etc

Cognitive Develpment
Let’s look at how Dance Exploration’s “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum helps children in preschool focus on their cognitive learning!

Cognitive thinking at this age involves simple colors, shapes, numbers, letters, directions, and so much more.

To incorporate these aspects into our classes, we are sure to include a weekly Dance Activity that incorporates one of these important aspects. Weekly classes are always themed to ensure that children are taught new concepts each week (Animals, Shapes, Colors, Outside, Working Together, Directions, etc).

Let’s say our Theme this week is Outdoors:

Example “Dance to Learn!” Dance Activity:
Flowers!
Using Dancing with Miss Melodee’s Song: “Flowers in the Garden.”

Dancers learn how they can move their bodies like flowers while also learning the parts of flowers (seeds, stems, leaves, petals).

Dancers practice swaying and blowing in the wind, grow leaves and petals.

This song also incorporates ballet words such as plie, develope, and twirl!


Social Development
Each week Dance Exploration, LLC “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum also focuses on a child’s social development skills.

For preschoolers, they are just learning about friendships and how to interact with others. Every class involves a social exercise with a focus on patience, waiting turns, sharing, manners, or working together.

Continuing with our outdoor theme here is an example “Outdoor Activity!” that fosters Social Skills:
Activity: Going on a Picnic!
Song: Any Song

For the first picnic you will be on the beach.
What kind of foods can we eat at our beach picnic?
Answers can include:
Coconuts, bananas, strawberries, fish, etc.
Have the kids share their food with their friends.

“What kind of dances we can do at our beach picnic?”
The hula, the limbo, etc.
Teach the kids the different types of dances with a partner.

Continue this exercise having a picnic in the woods, in the mountains, in the jungle etc.

Language Development
For language development read a fun book, or pull out flashcards and have the students dance like the pictures on the flashcards, or play a question and answer game for example:

“I am big, and furry and sleep all winter what am I?”

The answer is a bear! Have all the kids dance like a bear.

Some fun outdoor books that continue with our theme of outdoors could be:
“Little Red Riding Hood!”
“Goldilocks and the Three Bears!”
“Blueberry Shoe!”
“What does the Sky Say?”
“We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!”
“Like a Windy Day!”
“Mouse’s First Fall!”

Just to name a few! For other great Dance Books check out the following blog: kerryaradhya.blogspot.com/

For flash cards:
Animals, bugs, seasons, plants etc could all be used for outdoor related language activities.

If playing a game with words just be sure it’s outdoor related (or goes with whatever theme you decide to pick that day!)
“I lose all my leaves this time of year?”
Answer= Fall
Kids dance like falling leaves.

“I am a tropical location and take sand away?”
Answer= Tide/Ocean
Kids dance like the ocean.

For more on Dance Exploration, LLC’s “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum or classes visit our Website:
http://dancexploration.com

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2 thoughts on “Inspiring “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum- For Preschoolers

  1. Pingback: Benefits of After School Enrichment Programs | Dance Exploration's Blog

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