The benefits of dance for children are incredibly ostensible. Every website pertaining to children and dance raves about how great it is for the students involved, which is hard to argue in practice, but what about in theory? The social science behind the idea of dance aiding in the development of children is diverse and interesting, but at times hard to find. Taking a look at documented research, we are able to correlate both our personal experiences with the benefits of dance in addition to those by others who work with children in the same capacity.
The current edition of Elementary Physical Education: Curriculum and Instruction lists dance as both a movement and a character building activity. To cite the publication, it mentions the benefits of using dance as a tool into learning about different cultures from around the world. In one instance, the curriculum may coincide with the classroom, furthering the child’s understanding of the part of the world they’re learning about. Another describes dance as a literary tool, allowing the children to immerse themselves in the story using movement to initiate contact with characters and events.
In addition to learning and growing with dance, The American Cancer Society listed dancing as a way of reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. This generally occurs because of the sense of well-being, positive body image, and self-confidence dancing instills in the participant. The mental health benefits are incredible, and the physical health benefits are also notable. Physically speaking, dancing everyday can help one to keep fit and healthy. Coordination, flexibility, range of motion, physical strength, and stamina are all affected by dancing regularly. And of course, let’s not forget the cardio vascular health boost one can achieve by simply getting up every day and moving.
At this point, Leap of Joy has had the unique opportunity to observe these benefits in many of our students. Some have already moved on to middle or high school. Others are well on their way. In any case, there has been a notable change in attitude towards health and movement in our students. In some instances we’ve also seen a change in many of our high risk students, using dance as an outlet for their frustration, emotionally growing into themselves as they mature. It’s an incredible experience to be a part of.
At Leap of Joy we do our best to keep our students happy and dancing. The importance of keeping our students moving is essential. We hope to continue expanding our organization to allow our classes to incorporate students of all creeds.