The benefits of interactive dance in early years the anxious child
Over the years I have been witness to the tangible benefits of dancing within early years settings. As a dance leader working with young children, I can see at first hand the way dancing makes everyone feel good and ready for anything!
Dance really does reduce anxiety and tension for many children. Moving to music is instinctual however anxious children are held back by their own thoughts and self-belief. So many times, I see children changing from being anxious to being empowered and able to participate and move along to the music using a range of ways.
At jump jiggle and jive we acknowledge the anxious child by not requiring them to take part, letting them instead sit on the side-lines to watch. We play familiar music and music that is up-beat and relatable to actions and movements we are using. Removing the child’s inner anxiety means that the child can then relax and begin to see certainty, trust and social connections with us.
Dance materials make up a large part of our interactive dance classes. We use props and materials in all our classes to enable all children to have fun and move forward with us without even knowing it. Children are drawn to our materials and want to use them. Soon they are actually dancing learning and connecting. By asking children to focus on the materials provided we are arming them with security and uniformity which boosts confidence and give-it -a -go attitude.
Dance classes with jump jiggle and jive are a fantastic outlet for imagination and emotion. Having this outlet enables the child to explore emotions they may not be able to articulate otherwise. Exhilaration, joy, sadness, anger, frustration as well as the rhythm of mood and feelings music and actions relate.
We encourage non-verbal communication by using actions, facial expressions and teach the way we move and how we move can express more complex emotions physically.
Today over 150 schools in Northern Ireland run jump jiggle and jive classes as part of their curriculum in the knowledge that dance is for all and we all can do it!