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Why We Are Trains, Buses And Animals In Class

So many of my parents ask me all of the time are you doing something with frogs in your class or dogs, cows or snakes? They are so perplexed because they can’t see the correlation between pretending to be something and dance. So I am going to explain the reasoning behind this wonderful and fun way that children express themselves creatively, use their imagination and work with others and learn about their world.

IMAGINATION: A USEFUL TOOL IN LEARNING

The use of the imagination is so crucial to children learning. This particular skill helps both in creativity and self expression. It also helps children to have empathy and compassion and a better understanding of how the world works. They learn about similarities and differences and how things work and what these same things can do. They also learn what they themselves can do and what they are capable of.

Children love pretending. If you watch children, you’ll notice that they pretend in different ways. Sometimes they pretend  and imagine in a way where they are causing something to happen. They are building the tall tower or driving the tiny handheld car on the ground or up the wall. When they are doing this they are learning about cause and effect. How high can this tower go without falling? They are like scientist running an experiment, constantly asking “what  if”‘.

There is another type of imagining and pretending that involves actually being a thing. So they will be a dog crawling on all fours rather just reading about it. We all build our knowledge upon our experiences and this is how children learn also. So they will learn about space and gain spatial awareness by being in the world horizontally rather than vertically as they normally are. This a big favorite among the children, pretending to be something.

NO LIMITS TO WHAT THEY CAN DO OR BE

It’s my favorite too because there are no limits to what they can do or be. Many times instead of taking attendance by having them say “here” or “present”, I ask them are they going to be something or do something today.They love it! They pretend to be motorcycle  racers, airplanes, trains, flowers, a mermaid all kinds of things. Although it takes more time than I would like some days I still use it because I want to encourage it because I know that this is a way to express themselves, to use their bodies and to imagine. I also want them to experience the limitlessness of their minds.

CREATING SMARTER, FIT AND HAPPIER CHILDREN

In addition to the fun that the children have there are other reasons why I use  this method of learning. One it’s experiential learning that uses much more of their senses than just learning the traditional way. Secondly all of the movements in my class are also designed to integrate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain for better learning and functioning of the brain. More oxygen gets to the brain and assists in clarity of thinking. Lastly because of the increased oxygen flow in the body, it also burns up fat and helps children cardiovascular system and with physical development.

ASSESSING AND DEVELOPING CHILDREN

During my classes in addition to creating and implementing the lessons I am constantly assessing where each student is physically, emotionally, and socially as well as cognitively. I am not just looking at what they know but how do they learn best. What are their strengths and what needs more development? What is their thought process so that I can use that in current or future lessons. I assess each student based on where they are when I first teach them. From that point I determine where we need to go from there.

Lastly, using their imagination in this way also gives them a frame of reference when we move to the choreography (dance portion) of the class. It informs their quality of movement. When I say to them you have to jump up high using all of your legs like a frog they get it.

I hope this answers any questions and gives you a better understanding of what’s going on in class. Yes they are still learning dance vocabulary and movement. Yes they are becoming more physically fit and developing better balance and coordination, but I also want you to know that there is so much more going on. Your comments or questions would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to leave them.

One Response to “Why We Are Trains, Buses And Animals In Class”

  1. Sounds like a very nurturing and fun learning environment. You hold the future of the world in your interactions with the children. Thank you!

    Jacqueline

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