Multimodality and Embodied Learning in Communities and Schools
Edited By Mira-Lisa Katz
9. A Trio: Combining Language, Literacy and Movement in Preschool and Kindergarten Community-Based Dance Classes
Combining Language, Literacy and Movement in Preschool and Kindergarten Community-based Dance Lessons
JILL HOMAN RANDALL
To the young child, verbal language and movement are entwined. Preverbal movement expression does not cease when a child develops language. The road to literacy involves the translation of movement expression and communication into words. Language and dance are not separate threads, but are woven together and incorporated into a fabric of communication and understanding. (Faber, 2002, Standards for Dance in Early Childhood, p. 2)
Dance classes for preschool age children reveal the magical intersection between movement and language. The creative dance class described in this chapter is a well-crafted unit of study involving multiple layers of learning about dance, being in a social setting with peers, and exploring larger early childhood concepts related to language and literacy. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 are going through an important period of life—learning letters, sounds, words, and the idea of written language and story. Through these, they explore and develop relationships to others and to the world. At the same time, children are also exploring and learning the fundamental building blocks of everyday movement—movements that are also fundamental to dance.
Below, I describe a 21-week creative dance class for 3- to 5-year-olds that systematically investigates the intersection of language and dance. I examine naming movement verbally, using written language as a springboard for movement and ← 187...
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