Our Shall we Dance? project works with children and young people with severe and profound learning difficulties.
Dance and movement are effective ways to connect and develop one to one and group communication skills. As well as engaging participants in enjoyable exercise, dance can develop physical skills and confidence, and encourage self-expression and creativity. Dance is a chance not only to move more but to move together, to improve confidence and well being. The young people may suffer low self esteem and low confidence, and struggle to be independent learners. Activity – and in particular creative, expressive activity – aids a sense of worth and belonging.
Dance can be a very inclusive activity in which everyone can succeed in different ways – through enjoyment of group exercise, mastering a particular move, remembering a short sequence, supporting others and allowing others to be supportive in pair or group work, making own movements and dances, and personal expression through movement.
We are currently working with Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools across Devon with young people aged 5 – 18 to deliver dance and movement sessions and setting up dance groups. This part of the project will run from April 2018 – April 2021:
Mayfields School, Torquay
Ellen Tinkham, Exeter
Bidwell Brook, Dartington
Shall we Dance? is supported by funding from Children in Need.
“The children have really enjoyed the dance sessions and their gross motor skills have developed well. Using props and toys such as the big ball has increased their spatial awareness of objects in the space, and encouraging them to move their own bodies in different ways has increased their awareness of their own body in space, making them more personally aware. The sessions provide a lovely safe environment for the children to move freely and this has developed their confidence to try things they might have tried before.”
“The levels at which our students work means that the ‘differences’ will always be small and subtle and need ongoing input but I can categorically say that enjoyment, physical confidence, belief in own abilities, creativity, expression and physical ability improved for all.”
“Many thanks for the dance sessions- they are invaluable.”