This informative video is from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can find their Youtube site here. This video provides helpful scientific insight into the ways children develop through participatory enrichment. One thing comes to mind: The Science of Kinderdance.
I recently passed my one-year anniversary teaching Kinderdance!
Over the past several weeks, I have noticed immense changes in my students. Not only are the dancers stronger, dexterous, and becoming more and more innovative but they are communicating with emotion and consideration for the art and for each other.
I had to stop a particular parent at the Bright Horizons at Alston & Bird location to tell dote on the vast improvements her daughter has made in my class. This could not wait for progress report time! Her child had never spoken directly to me in the full year I had been teaching. This summer, she is now able to mentally associate her body with space, understand the cause and affect of her actions, and differentiate "right" from "wrong" rules.
Social competence not only involves the ability to cooperate with peers; it also includes such things as the ability to show empathy, express feelings, and share with one another. Kinderdancers are taught basic etiquette which helps develop a nurturing environment for all students.
Kinderdance is truly incredible, and I am so proud of my dancers!
The KDATL team has been discussing the different ways which Kinderdance affects the life of a child. We are continuously inspired by the genius we find in our students, and look for even more ways to enrich the development of the young dancer.
We began a dialogue on how infants love movement because they are accustomed to activity the womb. Movement naturally relaxes them! With the popularity of the "baby sling", there has been gaining interest in "sling and dance" classes for parents and babies. It's not just about getting in shape without a babysitter, either. Movement with your child creates an incredible bonding experience, while exposing your child to physical, visual, and auditory stimuli. If you know of "sling and dance" classes in Atlanta, please share the knowledge in our comment box!
It's fascinating to learn the different ways which we can bond with our children while strengthening their neural pathways. I have always been interested in items like Lullabelly, where you can comfortably play music to your child in the womb. Experts believe that prenatal music stimulation can help early brain development by laying a foundation for learning.
Very cool, right?
When I began writing for the Kinderdance Atlanta blog I wanted to check out as many dance blogs as possible. There are tons and tons, but I found a personal favorite: Maria's Movers
Maria Hanley shares similar ideals to that of the Kinderdance community. Her involvement in early dance education is inspiring, and her blog is full of rich, useful content. It is wonderful to read her experiences and empathize with the learning and teaching processes.
Here is a bit about Maria:
A passionate advocate for early childhood dance education, Maria Hanley specializes in teaching ages 5 months to 6 years. She currently designs and implements creative ballet programs for the young families and after school division at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. Maria teaches a variety of creative dance and infant/toddler programsthroughout New York City, including The Mark Morris Dance Group, Dancewave Center and 92Y Parenting Center.
Be sure to check out Maria'a blog, and see the impact she is making in early childhood dance education.
Summer Learning Day was June 20th, Atlanta!
Day care centers, summer learning programs, recreation centers, preschools, camps, and libraries from across Atlanta participated in reading a book at 10 a.m. from the Mayor's Summer Reading Club, or another book appropriate for the audience.
This citywide reading demonstration will reinforce the importance of summer reading! Take the opportunity to support a groupwide engagement of summer reading to discuss concerns about summer learning loss and alert families to engaging programs. Follow the hashtag #AtlantaReads to learn more information.
I enjoy browsing our wonderful preschools' assortment of summer reading. A particular children's book has come to my attention called Ballet for Martha. While waiting for my class to begin at the R. Kirk Landon Center, I took a look. This story is rich with dance, music history and beautiful illustration. The New York Times wrote an engaging article:
We see Graham in the studio, moving “differently from ballerinas. No toe shoes. No tutus. No pirouettes.” Brian Floca’s watercolors, in browns, grays and blues, evoke land and air and beautifully capture the dancers in motion: their purity of line, their powerful stillness, their distinct relationship to gravity. “My dancers never fall to simply fall,” Graham once said. “They fall to rise.”
Reading about dance, music, and theatre is another way to support your children in a creative and well-rounded atmosphere. Are you and your family reading any great books this summer? Tell us about them in our comment box!
Have a great weekend!
It is no surprise that children inspire the world. For one, they see and approach challenge much differently than adults. Those whose lives serve to teach children often realize that the children teach us a thing or two. When teaching, we pick up cues from children that present new methods of learning. Or even ideas that we never considered before.
A dance colleague and mentor shared this video with me. This beautiful improvisational movement features a 14-month old child following the lead of three adult modern dancers, but then, the adults begin to take cues from the child. The result is incredible. Pay close attention, watch over and over, and share with your child. It is that great.
Remember the genius in each child I've been wanting to expose? Here is a brilliant example..
Maya Angelou left the spirit of life with us when she passed on May 28, 2014. Many of us know her to be an author, activist, and public speaker, but did you know that Dr. Angelou was also a dancer?
That's correct! In fact, as a young girl she was granted a scholarship to attend school for dance and theatre. Later on, she was a nightclub singer where she met famous modern dancer Alvin Ailey. Ailey and Angelou performed an act they called "Al and Rita"*.
Can you imagine? Working in a nightclub in 1954 with someone who would become one the most influential contemporary dance choreographers of our time? Angelou was a known performer of West African dance, and released an album called Miss Calypso. I would not mind using the powers of time travel to experience that.
I'll leave you with that bit of knowledge, and share Maya Angelou's introduction to "Letter to my Daughter". May her words bring you peace and courage.
I often advise our teachers to help our dancers prepare for class. In a few ways, it is more than just putting on the uniform. We get our shoes ready underneath our cubbies, and most importantly... we "go potty" before dance class.
We're aware (I hope) of the stone which catches moss. Once one child raises their hand to go potty, we ALL have to go potty. I had an adorable breakthrough moment on Monday at Bright Horizons at Alston and Bird. A dancer of mine--whose hair is so curly and blonde I just want to eat it like spaghetti--had to go potty as soon as we sat behind the blue line.
I said politely to Kate, "We big girls go to the bathroom before dance class, and wait to use it after we finish." She looked at me with such bright eyed realization I wish I could have captured right then: "I'm going to be a big girl and hold it until after dance." What a succinct way to tell me, sweet pea!
And so we danced.
TGIF Kinderdance Family! Can you guess which KDatl teacher is feautured in this week's Flashback Friday? Comment below to submit your guess!
Oh, the golden days of dancing. How I miss them so. For ten years, my mother owned and directed a studio where I spent countless hours of my life. My mom loved to tap dance most of all, and I still remember my choreography to Shirley Temple's I Love to Walk in the Rain.
Recital season is now in full force, and it feels like it was yesterday that I was a little girl exploring the Rome City Auditorium. I bonded with each person involved in the theatre; from the assistant stage manager to the man who guided the spotlight. I learned how to hang and tie backdrops, close the curtains, and sneak out of my mother's sight and into the furthest balcony there was. It was a remarkable adventure.
The feeling of being on stage never leaves you. For the Kinderdance family, we cherish the special moments we create during our Parent's Days because we were once baby ballerinas ourselves.
****Please email your child's teacher to inquire about your center's Parent's Day. We look forward to seeing you there.
Every week, I am reminded of how blessed I am to teach Kinderdance to young children. It's interesting to see not only how ballet class has changed since I was a child, but how the children have changed as well. One of the main things I have noticed is that dance teachers encourage discussion more than ever. Dancers have a voice and mistakes are how we learn from others.
Kinderdance students are unique to a comprehensive curriculum featuring music, site words, colors, numbers, classical technique, creative movement, acrobatics, and tap. With such variety in a short amount of class time, students are challenged with both their mind and body.
Within the curriculum, it is fun to grow as a teacher. I find myself using imagery, which is highly effective in communicating alignment issues and difficult steps. The KD curriculum typically ends with a song and dance that we call "The Wiggle Dance". In this dance, we practice moving in different areas of space: high, low, medium. I get really involved in the imagery I use to enable the children's explorative nature. Really, this is a near-perfect, never-failing way to introduce elementary modern concepts.
Practicing The Wiggle Dance unlocks the opportunity to let dancers think critically about movement.The Wiggle Dance breaks meter, and challenges the dancers to create new ideas. I have to say, I just don't know what I would do without it! I enjoy watching my students learn new ways to express themselves.
Shasta Bridges is a certified early childhood movement specialist and Founder/Director of Kinderdance Atlanta. With over 30 years teaching experience in all ages and genres, Ms. Shasta holds a special affinity for teaching to young children.