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Creative Dance

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Creative Dance
with Early Years Children
Alexandra Koumatou
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
– Expression of self and feelings through body and
Creative Dance with
Early Years Children
• Ideas and methods originating in
DMT (therapeutic approach) and
creative dance/dance expression
(pedagogical-creative approach)
Why are dance and
movement important for
early years children?
• Movement experiences play a vital role in
the growth and development of the young
• Non-verbal interaction and communication
as precursor to language and cognitive
• Role of non-verbal communication in
bonding and attachment
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
Pedagogical Attitude
• Sensitive-responsive teaching style
• Based on children’s interests, abilities and
• “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
Methodology: How?
• Dance Movement Therapy (DMT):
Kinesthetic empathy, mirroring
Working in circle & other forms (relationships)
Symbolism, movement metaphor
Use of music, props, dramatic/narrative
Methodology: How?
• Laban Movement Analysis (LMA):
– Body (which body part(s) are moving)
– Relationships (with whom)
– Effort qualities (how are they moving, movement
– Space (directions, planes, levels)
– Shape (body shapes and attitudes…)
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
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)
Benefits for children with
typical and atypical
• 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
Benefits for children with
typical and atypical
• 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
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
Dance on!
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