Movement, dance, learning and the primary school student

In the past 30 years, leading researchers across many different areas of academia have studied the positive links between movement and learning. The breadth of data and research available to us is unequivocal in demonstrating that the experience of movement, and in particular dance, has a significant and positive affect on the processes involved in learning and creative thinking.

This research covers a wide range of subjects, from the changing physiology of the body as movement is experienced and the subsequent linking of these changes to increases in learning, to the exploration of the body’s balance mechanism and links to learning disorders. However, the research isn’t only about physiology and earning, but also links creative movement experiences to increases in learning through kinaesthetic anchoring of academic concepts and ideas.

Beyond the research there is another great benefit the expression of movement and dance can have – the experience of the many different ways the body can be  explored and expressed, both as a member of a group and as an individual.

The creative use of the body gives pupils the opportunity to think differently about themselves and their relationship to the world – it’s an endless canvas upon which ideas can be explored.

Primary School students have the most to gain through a detailed and progressive movement experience as they are particularly plastic in their ability to develop and maintain more changes in the body as a result of movement experiences. These changes, which can profoundly affect their learning, give them a multitude of different ways in which they can approach their schooling.

At Attik Dance we explore all of these ideas when working with young people and dance. We engage with and action the research that is appropriate for the work we do, and this changes with each project. At the core of the work is a focus on creativity, both in thinking and in physical exploration.

The work we do is often allied to the curriculum, but this is not a given. The creative focus with research links also informs what we do with staff in CPD sessions, making sure everything has legacy and sustainability.

Movement, dance and learning are intrinsically linked and are powerful tools for the primary student. If you take one thing away from reading this, we’d urge it to be a consideration of how your students engage their bodies in their learning experience.

Benjamin Dunks