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Creative Dance with Early Years Children Alexandra Koumatou.

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1 Creative Dance with Early Years Children Alexandra Koumatou

2 Objective of workshop To offer some important tools to educators working with early years children as to how to incorporate dance and movement in their classes in order to promote: –Body, movement and spatial awareness –Expressive-motor skills and body posture –Self-confidence, positive body-image and self-image –Playful interaction and communication, empathy and attunement –Expression of self and feelings through body and movement

3 Creative Dance with Early Years Children Ideas and methods originating in DMT (therapeutic approach) and creative dance/dance expression (pedagogical-creative approach)

4 Why are dance and movement important for early years children? Movement experiences play a vital role in the growth and development of the young child Non-verbal interaction and communication as precursor to language and cognitive development Role of non-verbal communication in bonding and attachment

5 Why are dance and movement important for early years children? Unity of self (body and mind), movement as mirror of one’s identity and personality Through dance and movement play children can learn having fun! Dance and Movement can facilitate the creative learning process and has recently been recognized as an important element in the curriculum in schools

6 Pedagogical Attitude Sensitive-responsive teaching style Based on children’s interests, abilities and needs “Following the child’s lead”, St. Greenspan Affective co-regulation and empathy Element of pleasure! (positive experience, success, experiencing one’s own potential and one’s own life force through dance/movement)

7 Methodology: How? Dance Movement Therapy (DMT): –Kinesthetic empathy, mirroring –Working in circle & other forms (relationships) –Symbolism, movement metaphor –Rhythm –Verbalization Use of music, props, dramatic/narrative elements

8 Methodology: How? Laban Movement Analysis (LMA): –“BRESS” –Body (which body part(s) are moving) –Relationships (with whom) –Effort qualities (how are they moving, movement quality) –Space (directions, planes, levels) –Shape (body shapes and attitudes…)

9 Methodology: How? Structure of a session : - Welcoming activity (verbal/non-verbal) - Warm-up - Theme Development - Closure (incl. relaxation etc.) - Short discussion Different aspects or activities can be used for various purposes as part of other sessions/lessons

10 For whom? Early years’ children attending mainstream schools but also young children attending special or inclusive schools/educational settings (children with typical and atypical development) Orientation and goals of dance/movement class or activity adjustable to specific children’s needs and abilities (Importance of early intervention for children facing developmental or other challenges)

11 Benefits for children with typical and atypical development Promoting creativity Improving concentration and learning skills (i.e. by helping manage feelings that interrupt learning) Enhancing body, spatial, kinesthetic awareness and self-awareness Improving self-image, self-esteem and personal autonomy

12 Benefits for children with typical and atypical development Broadening one’s expressive-motor abilities Developing trusting relationships (kinesthetic empathy, care for each other) and social skills Expressing and giving form to one’s own feelings and thoughts, processing of emotions through creative process and verbalization Learning and rehearsing new ways of coping Helping experience links between thoughts, feelings and actions, between body and mind, movement and language (sense of wholeness of self)

13 Some great quotes! “Dance first.Think later. It's the natural order.” - Samuel Beckett ”The body says what words cannot.” - Martha Graham “Learning to walk sets you free. Learning to dance gives you the greatest freedom of all: to express with your whole self the person you are.” - Melissa Hayden

14 Dance on!

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