Dance as Important as Math
Recently, a blog titled, “Why dance is just as important as math in school” by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica (March 21, 2018, www.ideas.ted.com) has been circulating the Internet. In this powerful article, Robinson notes, “I’m not arguing against mathematics – it’s an idispensable [sic] part of the great creative adventure of the human mind. It’s also intimately involved with the dynamics of dance…this is an argument for equity in educating the whole child.” I couldn’t agree more.
As a new Principal to a Title I school in 2016, I knew I wanted to expose students to the power of dance and arts integration across the curriculum. Having experienced it first hand at other schools, both Title I and non-Title I, I knew that this art form has much potential to transform the educational experience of every child. We introduced dance through an EdExplore opportunity with Deb Lo
mbard, called Music and Movement. Our K – 2nd graders were amazed at the connections between the movement and the mathematics concepts they were learning.
Because we are rapidly infusing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in our school, we are always looking for ways to integrate all elements of the STEAM curriculum, and especially to incorporate the arts into subjects that aren’t normally connected. For example, learning Mathematics and Science concepts using dance and movement.
This year we had an amazing opportunity to do just that. We were able to bring Deb Lombard in for a STEAM Family Engagement event where families learned about the concept of STEAM Inquiry through many explorations and hands-on experiences. Families were able to dance and move to demonstrate key concepts and ideas in these rigorous content areas. Students and their parents learned concepts together—creating a true “Two Generation” learning opportunity. While students practice and apply skills and strategies, parents are also learning and reinforcing (or perhaps relearning) knowledge and ideas.
Watching families learn together at these STEAM events is powerful. Sometimes it is the children teaching their parents. And others it is the parents working to help their child understand complex ideas. Having access to community partners is integral to the success of the program. Bringing in experiences and explorations, such as Deb Lombard’s dance program makes learning fun and leaves a lasting impact on both parents and their children both academically and emotionally.
Sir Ken Robinson sums it up nicely in his article: “physical activity has a positive influence on memory, concentration and classroom behavior” and the opportunities to increase dance throughout the curriculum promote “many of the personal qualities that employers recognize as essential in a collaborative, adaptable workforce.”
We are beyond thankful to have powerful partners in our community who help make it so!