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Dance and Social Development in Preschool Children

by Stacey Chaloux

Young children seem drawn to music, and from an early age, they will begin dancing when they hear it. While the physical benefits of dance are well-known, dance also brings social and emotional benefits, according to the National Dance Education Organization. Preschool children will learn social skills such as cooperation and peer interaction as well as building self-esteem when they are involved in dance experiences.

Communicating

According to the National Dance Education Organization's website, children learn movement patterns just easily as they learn language. Often children dance before they are able to talk. Dance can become a way for young children to express their emotions in a way they might not be able to verbally. When children are involved in learning dances, they are learning that their movements can tell a story and communicate ideas. As the NDEO states, "To the young child, verbal language and movement are entwined."

Cooperation

According to Education.com, young preschoolers are egocentric, and can have difficulty cooperating and sharing. A child who is involved in dance classes will have more opportunities to learn about working together in a group. She cannot dance however she wants, but instead is a part of a group all moving in the same way. She will learn that she needs to stay with the group to perform their routine, and begin to see how she relates to the other dancers.

Self-Control

Combining music and movement helps preschoolers learn to control their bodies, according to KidsHealth. This is an important development that can lead to better concentration and self-control. By imitating the movements of others, your preschooler is learning to move to the tempo of the music, pay attention to the teacher and memorize simple movement patterns. These are all opportunities to build her listening skills and impulse control, helping her to be successful once she reaches a classroom.

Self-esteem

When young children dance together, they begin to build a sense of community and appreciation for each other, according to Sparkplug Dance. Preschoolers can applaud one another's efforts and encourage each other as they dance. When your little one learns a new step or completes a dance routine, she will gain a sense of accomplishment and begin to build her self-esteem. As she learns that she can control her body and its movements, her sense of autonomy and independence grows, leading to better feelings about herself.

About the Author

Stacey Chaloux is an educator who has taught in both regular and special education early childhood classrooms, as well as served as a parent educator, teaching parents how to be their child's best first teacher. She has a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Missouri and a Master of Education from Graceland University.

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