chapter  6
11 Pages

Small group dance-play

WithJan Deans, Susan Wright

In this chapter the focus is directed toward the significant role dance-plays in enhancing the social development of young children. Small group improvisational dance-play is presented as an effective teaching strategy to support individual self-regulation, collaborative learning and in turn empathetic relating. Dance unites young children in creative activity and enables shared sustained collaboration and interpersonal sensitivity, which involves sharing ideas, give-and-take and the ability to see the viewpoint of another. A descriptive exemplar highlights the capabilities of young children for reciprocal non-verbal sharing of thoughts, ideas and feelings that culminate in transformative relational experience for the members of the group. Two drawing-tellings are analysed and synthesised to provide further insight into how young children represent their understandings of self and possible selves and their relationships with others. The influence of prior experience and imaginative thinking are also discussed.