The upcoming "Educating the Creative Mind" Conference at Kean University, March 4-6, 2010 will heighten the public awareness of the significance of the arts in children's lives and education. During this conference, in my workshop ABC…Dance, I will have the opportunity to share with educators from all over the world how dance education can motivate learning in the regular classroom.
I believe educating a child through dance education not only fosters creativity, it awakens them from the inside out. It stirs up creative juices that have somehow dried up in the regular classroom. Teaching children to be creative thinkers requires teaching the whole child. In order to teach children, you must find a way to reach them. Dance is an excellent way to do this as long as it is done with a purpose in mind.
The creative arts are a child's first language. Children use dance, music, and art, to express thoughts, ideas and feelings. When working with young children and the arts, the end product is not as important as the journey it takes to get there. In early childhood education, most students excel through kinesthetic experiences. Many children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactile learners. They want to touch everything. So how do we teach basic letter recognition, spelling, and phonics to early elementary school children? The way I taught my son in 2nd grade when he was diagnosed with dyslexia – we DANCE! We offer the student the opportunity to experience the lesson using their body. Letters, words and stories come to life and thus can be recalled and retold. Letters become more than lines and circles. They take on a whole new meaning as they are embodied and connected to actual words.
During the conference we'll get to hear from Howard Gardner, internationally renowned Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Saturday the children get to participate in the Children's Creative Arts Day. This promises to be a great conference for educators and parents.