The Importance of Dance for Young Children

Most parents love the idea of sending their little one to their very first dance class. The allure of the graceful movement, the idea of the grand stage, and the prospect of a future professional dancer is enough to open up a google search and find the closest local dance school. In truth, most dance students don’t grow up to be the professional dancer in Swan Lake, so why dance? Better yet, why start dancing at such a young age and can it actually help get them ready for school? 

It is widely known that children learn a lot through movement in early development. Dance and movement is a major factor in helping teach young children how to negotiate the world. Studies have shown that physical movement paired with pretend imagery can help children actually enjoy learning as well as aid in increased focus, retention, speed, and even math and logic concepts.

When children are learning to move to music, they are counting actual numbers and dissecting the rhythm and beats of music. Movement actually helps spark the growth of new brain cells! When kids learn to chassé by thinking of a horse chasing his friend, they are using areas of their brain essential to problem-solving, recall, and body-awareness as well as reinforcing verbal and social cues.

Dance has emotional benefits, too. Children participating in dance classes learn emotional regulation, sensory processing, discipline, and social empathy- the ability to sense and understand emotions in others. The nature of a well-planned dance class allows for children of all abilities to work at these developmental skills at their own level. 

We know that movement helps aid in learning across all areas of development, so why not just pop some music on at home and let your kiddo wiggle around the living room? While that is definitely encouraged in normal everyday play, a class setting and, more specifically a ballet class, provides more learning and social opportunities than just imaginative play at home.

French terms learned in a ballet class help kids connect verbal cues to physical movement. While working on a technical skill, a dance student is using cognitive recall to bring back to memory what they did the week before. In moving around in a dance room, a student is learning body awareness and spatial reasoning. When waiting in line or waiting for the music to start, even small children are learning social skills. The rigorous nature of ballet creates a disciplined student who can problem solve, has mind-body awareness, and is enhancing their sensory processing skills by connecting movement with auditory input. Ballet offers many long-term benefits that kids would profit from attaining. 

Children move the instant they are born and continue to learn through moving as they develop in the early elementary years. Studies show that encouraging creative movement at an early age helps produce adults in the workforce who are better at problem-solving and peer interaction. Dance class is a safe, low-stress environment that offers students multiple opportunities for understanding and exploring their world and their emotions! Let them twirl in their tutu and know that you are helping them grow their brains and create life skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

 

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