After 6 months working both at school and at the studio to develop my ideas about Dance I feel even more confident about the importance of Art and Dance in Early Childhood Education especially as a way for children to communicate differently.
At school first,
From November to January we have developed an entire unit of inquiry about Art in our Pre-K classes.
Our central idea “People express their ideas and feelings through different art forms” allowed the students to inquire into various forms of artistic expression and artists. They had opportunities to appreciate and respond to the artwork of others. They also looked within themselves to create artwork that represented their feelings and ideas. While the children explored the arts and gained new language, they developed their own perspective and inspiration to become artists themselves. I don’t say "little artists" but “ artists” because of the real process of creation and reflection they went through. Dance was part of the experiment: how to express feelings or ideas in movement, how to translate a word into a gesture?
With this unit I realized how creativity empowered them and gave them a voice: a clear voice for their own ideas, thoughts and feelings.
“I love this sculpture because there are a lot of colors. It is a person, her body is moving because it is dancing. I love dance”
“I love this painting, there are my favorite colors. It looks like snow falling on ice”
“I like impressionism because we paint small dots and it creates something new”
“It is my favorite color here. There are sculptures. Sculptures of people. There is one who is crying. It makes me think of my baby sister”
“I love land art because you don’t make waste”
“Cécile, you know, I told my mum I wanted to be an artist when I grew up because now I know how to make art”
At the studio,
After dancing with the students once a week for a few months I have seen some wonderful transformations. Some of them just blossomed with joy and confidence. It is a different experience than at school less related to other forms of Art and less connected to the everyday school life but again Dance gives them the opportunity to express themselves differently, with their bodies, by dancing with others, with objects or just alone in their own bubble of free creativity.
“Cécile did I tell you why I love Dance? Because I don’t need to speak. I just move”
Give children multiple voices, expose them to Art, encourage them to also express their ideas and feelings other than with words!