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Body Awareness: A Journey
In our favorite book about brain and body development, A Moving Child is a Learning Child, Cheryl McCarthy and Gill Connell write, “The body is the brain's first teacher.” That’s why building body awareness is such huge part of what we do in our baby classes, tyke classes, toddler classes, and preschool classes. When we are born, we don’t quite know what we have to work with and it's through sensory experiences (touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, MOVEMENT) that we discover the world.
In the aboveLittle Beats From Home dance class, we explore body awareness through an isolation activity. Using a great action dance song that challenges the kids to dance with one body part at a time, we use our brains to identify that body part and self-control to keep the rest of our body still as we move that one part to the rhythm of the music.
Body awareness develops in many different stages over the course of early childhood. Here is a high level snapshot of how we incorporate it in our classes:
1. Intellidance Babies (ages 4-12 months): Raising awareness
Grown ups play a very active role in helping the babies learn about their bodies. Introducing the language of body parts through nursery rhymes and songs, engaging in sensory, tactile activities to bring awareness to the feelings of our different body parts, and using guided stretching and exercises to facilitate key developmental movement patterns in the body.
2. Intellidance Tykes (ages 1-2 years old): Building control
Building on what we learn about our bodies in the babies level, we start to introduce new challenges as the enter year 1-2. The little ones take on a little bit more of an active role in the moving and exploring the bodies with the loving support of a caregiver. As they develop motor skills, they start to be able to label and move isolated body parts themselves building on their rapidly developing balance, coordination, language, and self-regulation skills.
3. Intellidants Tots and Tutu Tots (ages 2-4 years old): Creative Movement
Once a young child is familiar with their body parts and how to move them in isolation, we start to introduce more imaginative play and skill building into the mix. These children LOVE transforming their bodies into different animals, characters, shapes, and sizes. They also are working on some critical movement skills that will benefit them far beyond dance class. We hone in on skills such as marching, galloping, running, jumping, leaping, moving in all directions, levels, speeds, and balancing.
It is truly astounding to watch a child progress from babyhood to preschooler in our dance program! Knowing where they've been and where they're going helps us provide a more impactful learning experience which is why Little Beats music and movement classes are truly unique. We LOVE what we do and our heart explodes every time we see one of our little ones discover new things about their body and what it can do. While growth happens so fast from ages 0-4, it is a slow and gradual, nonlinear process that has a huge impact on your child's future. We hope to help you help your child reach their potential no matter where they are at in their journey!
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