Dance is a powerful ally for developing many of the attributes of a growing child. Dance helps children mature physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. The physical benefits of dance are widely accepted, but the emotional, social and cognitive attributes have only recently begun to be appreciated.
Physical Development: Dance involves a greater range of motion, coordination,
strength and endurance than most other physical activities. This is
accomplished through movement patterns that teach coordination and
kinesthetic memory. Dancing utilizes the entire body and is an excellent form of
exercise for total body fitness. Young children are naturally active, but dance
offers an avenue to expand movement possibilities and skills.
Emotional Maturity: Dance promotes psychological health and maturity. Children
enjoy the opportunity to express their emotions and become aware of
themselves and others through creative movement. A pre-school child enters a
dance class or classroom with a history of emotional experiences. Movement
within a class offers a structured outlet for physical release while gaining
awareness and appreciation of oneself and others.
Social Awareness: Dance fosters social encounter, interaction, and cooperation.
Children learn to communicate ideas to others through the real and immediate
mode of body movement. Children quickly learn to work within a group dynamic.
As the ongoing and sometimes challenging process of cooperation evolves,
children learn to understand themselves in relation to others.
Cognitive Development: Young children will create movement spontaneously
when presented with movement ideas or problems that can be solved with a
movement response. Movement provides the cognitive loop between the idea,
problem, or intent and the outcome or solution. This teaches an infant, child and,
ultimately, adult to function in and understand the world. The relationship of
movement to intellectual development and education is an embryonic field of
study that has only recently begun to be explored.