With so many activities and programs to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what will work best for your child, and it is especially important during their early years to ensure that their activities promote positive growth and ingenuity.
Creative movement can best be described as a process that engages all the child’s senses in order to find inspiration and delight in the world around them. When you sing a lullaby to an infant, they may not understand the words, but that does not prevent them from experiencing and absorbing the melody. In a creative movement class, even though many skills are still developing, we strive to provide a warm, secure, and calm environment that encourages this growth and introduces a child to new concepts.
Even very young children can be inspired and taught through a creative movement class. By incorporating music, props, and stories, they become engaged participants, learning how to move independently and how to listen for instruction. The more little ones hear and do, the more they absorb, imitate, and learn to express themselves as they develop.
A creative movement class with story time for toddlers and preschoolers is an extension of the family experience, an intermediate step for the child between home and formal schooling. The story time brings magic and imagination into the classroom, transporting children into a fantastical world where anything is possible. Incorporating elements of the story into the classroom lesson, reading the story, and subsequently dancing to it allows the children to become fully immersed into this land of fantasy. This allows the teacher to utilize the student’s imaginations, which helps them become aware of their bodies by connecting physical abilities to their fairytales. For example, an instructor can use an image of a starfish from The Little Mermaid to show children how to stretch their arms and legs out wide; oppositely, she can use the image of the seashell to have students “clam” up with arms and legs by their sides.
For the older preschooler, the creative movement philosophy helps introduce more complicated concepts and dance progressions while maintaining a magical, open atmosphere. Students learn how to piqué by pointing their toe “to fit into Cinderella’s slipper”; they learn to port de bras by allowing their arms to “be light and graceful like fairy wings.” The objective is to motivate students to use their own creativity to further understand the relationship between their physical and mental selves.
Creative movement is a foundational proponent to many early development classes, but whether you are taking a class or perhaps playing at home, remember that it is never too early to begin dancing and reading with your child!
By: Nancy Parenti and Molly O’Connell, Ballet Petite