Medals and Moves: Dancing for Young Children

Part of the Olympic Closing Ceremonies in Russia included a wonderful ballet performance. Many of the ballet moves looked like some of those in Pairs Figure Skating and Ice Dance. Dancing is another activity that supports young children’s learning, early development and kindergarten readiness.

ukrainian-dancing fun and learningFor fun in February, I’ve included some blogs about things people love. Kids, both girls and boys, love to dance and move around to music. In YouTube, just type in a particular form of dancing combined with the word children’s and there will be pages of videos! Recently, a friend’s daughters had a Ukrainian dance evening. When asked about it, she said: “I adore Ukrainian dancing because of the ages involved, both sexes involved, and the culture. It’s really been an enriching addition to the whole family!”

In any kind of dancing, there’s so much fun and lots of learning. Not just bodies, but brains need movement. Moving helps create pathways and connections in the brain. During the preschool years, children need to explore how their bodies move and figure out how the different parts can work together.

Children learn to tune into the music and to tune out distractions. In order to link their actions to the music, their brains remember what to do and predict what’s coming next. That’s lots of exercise for both bodies and brains. Being able to sequence one action to the next one is an important higher order thinking skill.

dancing helps early learningDancing can help children with reading. Predicting what comes next and sequencing are valuable strategies for reading. Music can help with math. Math and music are both systems that go up and down, notes in music and numbers in math. Both have patterns, rhythms, and waves.

Kids can dance by themselves or with others. As they are dancing, there’s lots of give and take as kids watch each other and respond to what other people are doing. The colors, costumes, and dance steps all weave a story about different places and people.

There are no Olympic medals for ballet and other dancing, like tap dancing, break, or hip-hop but when it comes to learning and fun, dancing is gold! Does your child like to dance?

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