The Importance of Dance in EYFS

The Importance of Dance in EYFS 1620 1620 Nursery Story

As young children experiment with movement, they are actually doing many things. They are communicating, having fun, experimenting, creating and gaining a better understanding of their own bodies and physical development. So while the concept of ‘dance’ within EYFS might be jarring for some, it’s actually an exercise that can have a series of tangible benefits for little ones. First let’s take a look at what ‘dance’ means in early years…

Creativity through Dance

We’re not suggesting that your little ones suddenly learn the tango here (although if that’s their thing then why not!). The term ‘dance’ in early years can actually mean many things but it doesn’t necessarily have to start with turning the music up and jumping around. Dance is about expression, movement and physical awareness.

For us, dance in EYFS means giving children a space where they feel encouraged to improvise and not worry about feeling silly or about an end product. It’s about creating and expressing themselves how they see fit in any particular moment. In many ways, it’s not dissimilar to transient art, a subject we discussed recently.

Ready?

We know, we know: you’re not a dance instructor! In fact, you might not like to dance at all. But, trust us, that need not stop your little ones enjoying dance in your early years setting. It’s important to realise that you’re not ‘teaching’ dance per se, rather you’re facilitating it. At such a young age, children really only need to be able to walk, hop and skip in order to enjoy what we’d refer to as ‘dance’. 

Let’s Go!

Now, you’re going to have to get creative here just like the children. Learning to use the space in a room in a creative way is key. You’re going to need props here (we like brightly coloured ones) to make the set up as enticing as possible. Here’s a few to get you started: 

  • Coloured hoops
  • Cones
  • Mats
  • Coloured Tape (to make shapes on the floor)
  • Brightly coloured chiffon scarves

One exercise we’ve seen work very well is called ‘catching the train’. Children join together with their arms on each other’s shoulder and move as a train from one area to another in the room. These areas consist of different shapes and colours. A square marked out with blue tape on the floor might be a pond, for instance. A huge green rectangle might be a park. The children move from one to the other in unison, with them each imagining their next destination and having to use their bodies in fun and interesting ways to get there. We think it’s a great way to gently introduce coordinated movement into a nursery. 

Bringing Music To Life

Of course, music is a great way to get people dancing and that’s the same for young children too. Now, you might want to use music that directly links to the activities you’ve got planned such as ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ or ‘Wheels on the Bus’. You may want to use music that reflects each season on the calendar (this can be easily found on Youtube or Spotify) and ask the children to move in a way that mirrors each season. Spring might see them breaking out of a shell, autumn might see them blowing in the wind. The idea is to make these activities as fun and enjoyable for your little ones while they think as they go. 

At Nursery Story, we know a little creativity can go a long way and that is how we are able to offer a nursery management software that is intuitive to your setting’s needs. Click here to sign up for a free trial and see how Nursery Story could improve efficiency and parent engagement within your setting.

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