What you remember of school was likely focused around a desk and a chalkboard. But for your preschooler, class is much more varied, because young children learn in very different ways from their older siblings. For preschoolers, learning is much more effective when it is fun, and dance is just one way that some preschools at excitement and variety to the classroom. Here are just a few benefits of including music and movement in preschool learning programs in Spring Hill, TN, as reported by an eight-week study in the scientific journal Social Development.
One of the most obvious benefits of including movement in the classroom is that it helps keep children fit and active. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than half of the children in the United States don’t get enough physical activity. And, perhaps even more surprising, is the fact that young children get even less exercise than their older siblings.
Including a structured physical activity like dance in the preschool classroom encourages a love of physical activity from a young age. It can also help to improve gross motor skills, flexibility, body awareness, coordination, endurance, muscle strength, posture, and balance. All of these are essential to help your child live a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.
Music and movement also improve self-esteem and helps children to develop social skills. Dancing with peers and teachers alike helps preschoolers to focus on teamwork, communication, mutual respect, and trust in others, as well as simply encouraging more positive social encounters with those around them.
Because dance is a form of self-expression, your child will become more self-aware, and better learn how to express emotions. Additionally, learning even simple dance steps boosts a child’s confidence and self-esteem, which may help them participate more fully in group activities, or even give presentations.
Now, you might be thinking, “I want my child to be learning more school-focused skills instead of focusing on movement.” And, though we firmly believe in the value of fitness and social development in preschoolers, we do understand parents’ desires to prepare preschoolers for a kindergarten curriculum. But, surprising as it may be, dance can actually support the development of cognitive skills.
Dance improves sensory awareness in children, which can improve their ability to concentrate. And, by learning steps and patterns in dance, they’ll be working on their memory skills too. Creative movement can also be used to improve a child’s language skills; music and movement make abstract concepts more concrete for children, and by pairing these movements with certain words or phrases, a child can more easily retain and recall things like new vocabulary words. Dance also introduces your child to rhythms and counting, which can lay the groundwork for early math skills.
Finally, the eight-week study mentioned above also found that preschoolers who participated in dance had improved behavior throughout the day. This may partially be due to the opportunity to “get their wiggles out,” but can also be attributed to the social-emotional skills discussed earlier. As children become more aware of their bodies, and better learn how to express their feelings, behavioral issues in the classroom decrease.
Overall, music and movement can be an excellent addition to a preschool curriculum and can help your child develop many schools that will aid them as they enter kindergarten next year. If you would like to learn more about how we use music and movement at THE Children’s Academy, please contact our preschool in Spring Hill, TN, at (615) 302-0950.