Developmental Guidelines for teaching dance (K-3) Dance integrates the physical, emotional, social and cognitive processes of the developing child. Teaching creative movement can be an effective medium for developing all aspects of the growing child.
Researchers in child development, education and dance education Jean Piaget (1896-1980), a biologist/ psychologist from Switzerland, demonstrated that “young children are sensori-motor and concrete learners” - “the child’s thought processes is his physical action”. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences. All people possess several types of intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal,and spatial.
Researchers in dance education, cont. . . Rima Faber, Ph.D., PhD (American University, 1997), MA (American University, 1994), and BA (Bennington College, 1965). Helped found the National Dance Education Organization and served as its program director until she retired this year. Rima has taught in the D.C. Public Schools since 1980 with a prime focus on cognitive development and kinesthetic learning. She taught academic curricula through dance as well as dance as an art form. In the mid-and late 1990s, Rima worked with the National Assessment of Educational Progress on developing, facilitating, and implementing the national assessments in arts education. At NDEO she chaired task forces to develop standards for dance in early childhood and new standards for dance education in the arts. She serves as research director in NDEOs research initiative Research in Dance Education and as co-editor for Priorities for Research in Dance Education.
The Preschool Years Ages 3-4 Intuitive stage - they interpret the world exactly as they see it but at the same time “play” with the world, using their imagination. It is a time of magical thinking. They learn from interaction with others and imitation. Experiential Learners - learn by doing. Short attention spans, vary the activities. Very focused on self, egocentric - avoid explanations that do not relate to them.
Examples of what Preschoolers can do . . . Copy simple geometric figures Express their own feelings Enjoy using words in rhymes and song Say and begin writing alphabet Can identify basic colors Are beginning to control their running, jumping, hopping Locomotion: gallop, hop, march, slide, assemble Non-locomotor: spin, swing, cross the midline, isolation of separate body parts Spatial direction: forward and back, sideways, spinning around, high and low level
Kindergarten and First Grade - ages 5-6 Movement becomes smoother and more refined and accurate. Students can make conscious decisions about art, music, dance and theatre and respond with feelings and emotions. They can compare and contrast different sounds, pictures and movements. They can create their own stories, songs and dances - artists at work. Students are becoming more aware of the social harmony, more concerned about others. They are more daring, have more confidence to try new things and dance independently.
Examples of what 5-6 year olds can do . . . This age has better body control to balance, execute skills on one foot, hold shapes and be aware of their whole body. They can put together more intricate sequences of movements and identify and use more complex rhythms. In school, they are beginning to spell, put words together and tell stories. Locomotion: same as preschool age plus skips, slide, leap, hop, and combinations of these skills. Also stronger sense of direction and focus. Non-locomotor: increase articulation of individual parts of the body, explore qualities of movement more completely.
Second and Third Grades Ages 7-8 At age 7, there is a dramatic shift of logical processing (Pierce, 1977.1756.) This group is more interested in creating their own art, songs, pictures and movements. Able to make conscious decisions and respond with emotion and feeling. Very interested in how their body works and figuring out a skill. Important to sustain the imaginative work as more and more demands are placed on their cognitive skills. Physical demonstration is still very important.
Examples of what 7-8 year olds can do . . . Continued development of body control, executing more and more complex movements. Able to interpret emotional concepts, music quality and imagery through movement. Can work with more complex rhythmic patterns They are less self-focused and more aware of the space around them and how they can relate to other dancers. Able to combine steps into a movement phrase and indentify a beginning and an end. Able to invent movements in response to an emotion or pathway, for example.
Discipline and Management How to know when to focus on a problem, use it as a teaching moment or let it go. Be prepared. Leave little room for deviant behavior. Set out your expectations early. Know what they are used to. Change activities often. Change the teacher/student connection often. Be consistent, repetition is helpful. Evaluate, observe, care, nurture, remind . . .
Not everyone learns the same way. . . Kinesthetic - doers Visual - watchers Auditory - talkers