Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
As a parent we all know how important it is for our children to be physically active but did you know that such habits could be set by the age of 5?
How children view activities and classes at an early age can impact how they continue to view them into later life. Therefore, classes in the preschool market is a key one where they can be encouraged to see activity as engaging, healthy and most of all FUN!
Sports, music and drama are fantastic for this age group however my passion is for dancing. Moving to music is a natural instinct from being a baby and I believe is a great non-competitive, gender-neutral way of getting very young children physically active.
Dance not only helps with core development skills such as hand/eye co-ordination and gross & fine motor skills but it also encourages creativity, spatial awareness and language/speech development. It helps build confidence, too. Many parents don’t realise how important it is to start building their little one’s confidence however the Government’s standards set for the early year’s foundation stage state that from birth to the age of 5* a child’s development through socialisation is vital for them to fulfil their potential in later life. Dance is perfect for this through repetition, sharing and close contact with others. This is also a key part of Ofsted’s readiness for school provision.
Being physically active also promotes a healthy lifestyle. Childhood obesity is still very high and instilling a schedule of activities where children are encouraged to burn off energy in a safe and fun environment will help set the habit of being active naturally rather than forced. They will see it as enjoyable and then more likely to always want to be activeand keep fit.
I started some preschool dance classes - diddi dance - back in 2003 when I saw a gap in the market for funky dance classes, encouraging boys as much as girls with different dance styles apart from ballet. Classes are delivered in an age appropriate way, encouraging even the shyest of children, over time, to participate and engage with moving to music. Parents and carers stay in our classes and this is key to their confidence growing plus children then not only get used to engaging with other children but other adults, as well.
Dance is also great in an educational setting and the benefits of improving concentration, vocabulary development and focus are great.
Funding is a issue to bring in external providers sometimes however there are benefits to having a different leader for such activities:
• Their attention, once familiar with the new leader, gives them new engagement during the day.
• Its is sole focus for the leader where they can really give all their attention to dancing with the children rather than reports, nappies, paper work or feeding.
• Their time spent is for the session only so their energy levels are high and they deliver enthusiastic and fun classes
• Their training, knowledge and experience of their chosen activity is high and they know how to deliver sessions and engage them in that particular style.
We offer free taster sessions for both private classes and childcare settings and our sessions have been developed over many years and approved by child psychologists to compliment the EYFS.
However if funding an external session isn’t there for now, then music, instruments and props such as dance ribbons, scarves and pom poms are great ways of getting children physically active to music in your setting.
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