We’re very happy to introduce our first guest blogger, Redleaf Press® author Connie Bergstein Dow. She is the author of One, Two, What Can I Do? Dance and Music for the Whole Day and Dance, Turn, Hop, Learn! Enriching Movement Activities for Preschoolers. Connie is a source of endless ideas that not only get children moving, but also make them excited about physical activity. Follow along with Connie, and you’ll find out how to use movement activities to help children learn and jump start the skills they need to develop life-long healthy habits. You can also catch up with Connie at PreK + Sharing, a collaborative blog for early childhood professionals.
Without further ado, here’s Connie!
My name is Connie Bergstein Dow. I am excited to be a part of the Redleaf Press blog! I look forward to sharing my experience in the field of dance with early childhood educators, because I feel strongly that all children should have the opportunity to participate in the arts. First, I would like to introduce myself and give you some information on my background.
When I was young, I was very flexible and had a difficult time getting my body to move in an integrated way. My mother said I used to trip over the patterns in a carpet! Gym class was an intimidating experience for me, and I was virtually always the last person chosen for sports teams. My parents signed me up for dance classes to help me to develop balance, strength, and coordination. This wonderful opportunity was my introduction to the art form of dance. I found that I loved to dance. It was the vehicle through which I learned physical skills and body control; it gave me self-confidence and a voice to express myself; and ultimately led me to a life-long career.
I grew up in Cincinnati and went to Denison University and then on to graduate school at the University of Michigan. I had a professional performing career for about 12 years, which took me from Michigan, to Venezuela, Guatemala, New York, and finally back to Cincinnati. I have been fortunate to be able to continue working in the field of dance as a teacher, writer, and workshop provider, with over 40 years of experience.
My dance journey has been rich and rewarding. I have studied this art form from many angles, from training, performing, teaching, and writing, to being an informed and appreciative audience of all types of dance. I have developed an understanding of the importance of movement in our lives. I continue to share my passion for dance by giving workshops to early childhood professionals who want to bring dance to children in their classrooms and centers. I demonstrate classroom management techniques that are inherent in the art form to show teachers that children can learn valuable skills such as body control, space awareness, and working in a group. Dance can be used to teach virtually any subject across the curriculum, while addressing early childhood learning standards. I feel strongly that dance, and the other arts, are not “extras;” they are essential and transformational forces in our lives.
Movement is something that children want and need to do, and that teachers enjoy once they become comfortable offering movement sessions. Perhaps best and most importantly, there are countless benefits for the children who participate in creative movement activities.
In saying goodbye for today, I would like to leave you with some food for thought — a brief summary of some of the wonderful benefits of creative movement for children.
Guided movement sessions can:
- Early Literacy and Language Skills
- Mathematics and Counting
- Science and Social Studies
- Concepts such as Colors, Shapes, and Opposites
- Self-Control and Body Awareness
- Spatial Awareness
- Group Cooperation
- Listening, Understanding, and Responding to Instructions
- Reasoning and Problem-Solving Skills
- Self Expression
- Large Motor Skills
- Life-Long Healthy Habits
Keep on dancin’!
Want to dance? Check out Connie’s books, One, Two, What Can I Do? Dance and Music for the Whole Day and Dance, Turn, Hop, Learn! Enriching Movement Activities for Preschoolers, and stay tuned for more from Connie.