The Importance of Dance Education
NDEO- National Dance Education Organization
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. Movements 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 lean 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 an 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.
NEA- National Endowment for the Arts
Social skills and the arts – several studies revealed positive associations between arts activities and developing social skills, such as helping, sharing, caring, and empathizing with others. Children assigned to an eight-week dance group demonstrated improvements in social skill development and reductions in anxiety and aggression compared to a control group.
Emotional regulation and the arts – studies showed that the arts help children regulate their emotions, a critical skill for well-adjusted children and adults. Infants who participated in a six-month active music group with singing and dancing had better emotional regulation behaviors than did infants in a passive music group, where music was played in the background while infants did other activities.
This information was taken from https://www.arts.gov/news/2015/arts-and-early-childhood-development-focus-new-nea-research & http://www.ndeo.org/content.aspx?club_id=893257&module_id=55419&page_id=22.
American Society for Clinical Nutrition1
Study objective was to evaluate the effect of a school-based exercise program and obesity indexes of preschool children.
A specific exercise program of a 15-min walk before morning class and a 20- min aerobic dance session after the afternoon nap was performed 3 times per week for ~30 weeks.
Study endorses and suggests a 30 week preschool-based exercise program can prevent BMI gain in girls and may induce a remission of obesity in preschool age children.
School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences2
Comparative study looking at difference of an 8 week preschool dance program, with a control group, on pre-post measures of sensorimotor synchronization.
The dance group demonstrated significantly better pre and post test improvements on sensorimotor synchronization and balance.
With the importance of sensorimotor synchronization and lance on child development, daily performance, and sports activities, dancing should be included in early childhood curricula.
Society for Public Health Education3
Study examining the impact of a Head Start-based intervention in Hispanic and American Indian preschool aged children (Child Health Initiative for Lifelong Eating and Exercise [CHILE]) on physical activity at home.
When comparing intervention and control groups over a 2 year period the CHILE intervention was effective at increasing physical activity at home in preschool children.
Among specific promoted activities (ball playing, dance, active games, jumping, and walking), dancing increased the most.
BioMed Central Public Health4
A systematic review examining the relationships between objectively and subjectively measured physical activity and health indicators in the early years (0-4 years)
Specific types of physical activity (active play, aerobic, dance, and structured/organized), total physical activity, and physical activity of at least moderate to vicious intensity were consistently favorably associated with multiple health indicators in preschool-aged children (0-4).
1 Mo-suwan L, Pongprapai S, Junjana C et al. Effects of a controlled trial of a school-based exercise program on the obesity indexes of preschool children. Am J Clin Nutr;68:1006-1011.
2 Chatzihidiroglou P, Chatzopoulos D, Lykesas G, et al. Dancing effects on preschoolers’ sensorimotor synchronization, balance, and movement reaction time. Percept Mot Skills; 125(3):463-377.
3 Cruz T, Davis S, Myers O et al. Effects of an obesity prevention intervention on physical activity among preschool children: the CHILE study. Health Promot Pract;17(5):693-701.
4 Carson V, Lee E, Hewitt L, et al. Systematic review of the relationships between physical activity and health indicators in the early years (0-4 years). BMC Public Health;17:854.