Posts tagged ‘preschool’

Creative Dance for Preschoolers

Every person can learn from dancing. Not everyone will grow up to perform dramatic leaps in a corps de ballet or to shuffle off to Buffalo with the Rockettes, but every child deserves the opportunity to dance. For babies and toddlers, creative movement offers a range of experiences that facilitate natural, easy play and proper development of alignment, neurological coordination and a fundamental exploration of baseline concepts that are the building blocks for future learning.

For preschoolers, children about 2 1/2 to four, movement play in a creative dance setting can help to provide an essential educational experience. Through movement, songs, games and rhymes, children not only flex their muscles as they gain strength and endurance, but they challenge themselves emotionally and cognitively as well.

Creative dance for small children approaches many ways of learning. Inherently kinesthetic, a solid creative dance class should be appealing to both boys and girls, offering ample opportunity to hop, bound, run, dive, leap, jump, turn, kick, and stretch. Kids, of course, love to move.

As an educational model, dance uses rhythm, honing children’s aural skills, and giving them a chance to approach conceptual ideas through their bodies. Creative dance also relies on linguistic play like rhymes and games that involve the use of fun new language and vocabulary. Academically speaking, in a ten-week session of creative dance for preschoolers, your child can and should be exposed to most of the basic academic bases they’ll climb to in their elementary education. But they’ll tackle these new ideas not through tests and standards, but through fun, playful and engaging activities.

As with any enriching educational activity, consistency is key. You and your child can play at the pool once or twice over the course of a few months, and have a great time. But if your goal is to have your child become safe and comfortable in the water, you’re probably going to want to take regular lessons.

That’s why it’s recommended that children be involved in a regular creative dance class, so they can get to know the teacher and his/her classmates, so they have the chance to build on the conceptual vocabulary that has been worked with in previous weeks and so they can gain a greater understanding of the material. But most importantly, consistency and the repetition and affirmation it affords will provide your child with a wider launch pad for their own creativity both in and out of class.

Here are a few of the benefits of Creative Dance for preschoolers:

– Increased body awareness, kinesthetic comfort and ease
– Improved alignment, flexibility and neurological patterning
– Emotional and social growth and development
– Greater self-esteem and autonomy
– Linguistic and aural (listening) skills enhanced
– Beginning understanding of academics such as math, reading, spelling and science
– Approaches ‘classroom skills’ necessary for school experiences, such as taking turns, following directions, listening, sharing and communicating needs and feelings
– Develops an early creative spark in individuals and groups

For more information on the benefits of dance and other art forms on early childhood education contact the Asheville Arts Center.

December 20, 2010 at 8:27 am Leave a comment

Supporting arts eductation at the preschool age

Supporting arts education in preschool children is important for a wide variety of reasons:

  • Preschool care and education, except for certain low-income programs, is considered a private service and receives little or no federal funding.
  • While the importance of early childhood arts education has received greater attention in recent years, the majority of funding and programming is directed to grades K–12, with preschools being largely underserved.
  • Arts education should not be considered a frill, but a necessity. Since preschools are not part of the public school system, funding sources vary greatly. When budgets are tight, arts programs, teachers, and supplies are often cut first.
  • More than four million children attend preschool programs nationwide.
  • Preschool-age children are primed for learning and greatly accepting of most art forms.
  • Compelling evidence exists that early arts experience has an impact on all aspects of a child’s learning and development and that, in many ways, “earlier is better.”
  • Early childhood thus presents both a unique opportunity and a unique challenge; a part of that challenge is to engage and support all who care for and educate young children in making the arts an integrated and vital part of their earliest experiences.
  • We know that “art,” understood as spontaneous creative play, is what young children naturally do—singing, dancing, drawing, and role-playing. We also know that the arts engage all the senses and involve a variety of modalities including the kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. When caregivers engage and encourage children in arts activities on a regular basis from early in life, they are laying the foundation for—and even helping wire children’s brains for—successful learning.

Source: Arts Education Partnership, Children’s Learning & the Arts: Birth to Age Eight

December 16, 2010 at 11:23 am 2 comments

Academic benefits of arts education for children

Pre-literacy skills such as reading and writing are greatly improved when students are exposed to a quality, integrated arts education. Research shows us that studying dance, for example, substantively helps preschoolers with reading readiness skills, while the discussion of music helps with language skills. The report “Critical Evidence:  How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement,” commissioned by the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies (2006), also found research demonstrating that dramatic play helps children’s comprehension skills and improves reading and pre-reading skills among all groups, especially those first graders whose reading was below grade level.

According to “Looking at Art with Toddlers,” by Katherina Danko-McGhee, Ph.D., exploring and discussing art with even very young children pays off by helping children organize their thoughts and develop logical, yet creative thinking. Children learn that “visual symbols can communicate ideas” and story telling can help improve descriptive language. Taking care to allow children the opportunity to talk, dramatize, sing, dance and otherwise creatively communicate allows them to sharpen their ability to use symbolic thought.

Math and logic and their relationships to the arts also hold a fascination for the researcher.

The highly publicized “Mozart Effect” revolutionized our society’s thinking about the value of music to the young child’s mind, and although specific results have been debated, it has generated new research and has come to symbolize a new way of thinking about the importance of the arts.

The 2006 National Assembly of State Arts Agencies report entitled “Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement,” analyzed studies that demonstrate measurable improvement in performance in math, especially among economically disadvantaged students. Music instruction is proven to help develop spatial temporal reasoning, which may lead to more sophisticated thinking about math concepts.

Beyond Academics

Perhaps more importantly than test scores and grades are the less tangible, but powerful effects that critical study of the arts can give us. These include cognitive skills such as reasoning ability, problem solving skills, creativity and inventiveness, all of which are improved when children discuss, create and participate in the arts. They learn to draw inferences and strengthen their abstract thinking. Research in “Critical Evidence” found increases in fluency, originality and improvisation among children with a good integrated arts education. Once again, the largest improvements were found among young children who had critical social and developmental needs and were struggling below their peer groups.

Improved self-esteem, perceptions of school and respect for others are other positive benefits of art exposure.

December 10, 2010 at 9:13 am Leave a comment

Performing arts classes yield huge beneift to kids

What do performing arts classes offer kids? Think about dancing.

We all do it at some point in time. We feel the rhythm, hear the music and before we know it, we are dancing. We may not have the finesse of the ballroom dancer, or the speed of a cloggier or the grace of the ballerina, but when you are up and dancing it doesn’t really matter.

Children who dance have increased self-esteem, coordination, balance and poise. Dancing cannot only be fun, but educational. Whether you enroll your child in a dance school or a program through the local community center, as long as they are exposed to the feel and the beat, they will have fun.

Let’s look at how dancing can help your child to grow. A child’s self-esteem is enhanced with dancing. In a classroom setting, children are placed by age and skill level. Accomplishing the different positions of ballet or steps and routines in Tap create a sense of self-worth for the child. Being able to create moves with the music is a very satisfying event for a young dancer. And dancing is not just for girls. Boys are becoming more active in dancing, just look at all the boy bands and the synchronized dance moves they perform.

In addition to self-esteem, dance can reinforce a sense of pride. A child who wears glasses, has braces, is “pudgy” or maybe a little clumsy will find a renewal in their pride when dancing. When you are on stage or dancing by yourself, you are in a different world. It may not happen overnight, but it does happen.

Grace and poise are two physical benefits of dance, in addition to providing an intense and fun form of exercise.

A child in dance learns different positions and steps, which utilize all parts of their bodies. They are educated on proper posture, head and body alignment and moving with their entire body to create a flow of movement. Dance techniques have been used to train professional athletes including football and basketball players to help them develop faster moves on the playing field and allow them to move without injuring their bodies.

There is also a great deal of discipline involved with dancing. For the youngest dancers it is less rigid, but as you progress with years of experience, the discipline becomes stricter. Visions of a stern, older woman sitting by the bar tapping a heavy stick come to mind, but it is rarely like that. The discipline will involve positioning, practicing, learning, practicing, respecting and practicing. The longer a child dances, the more respect for others and themselves they will have. Dance has evolved from a thing skinny, pretty girls did in tutus to an active and recognized sport.

Not every child who dances when they are young will go on to become professionals, or even continue to dance into their middle and high school years. But the majority who has danced at some point in their lives will tell of the fun and the discipline. The feel good rhythm that moved their feet then, continues to course through their veins today. And performing arts endures: once a dancer always a dancer.

December 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

New South Location!

STARTING Monday November 30th:

We are upgrading to a new, larger facility which will be a better home for all of our programs! The studios will be larger and there will be more space for rehearsals, for classes and for parents of Kindermusik students to roll across the floor!

The best part is that the move is JUST ACROSS THE STREET!

Located at 10 Miller Avenue, Long Shoals turns into Miller Ave when you cross Hendersonville Road. It is on the left hand side of the street across from the Skyland Fire Department.

If you were sitting at the traffic light (having come from I-26) at Long Shoals Rd. and Hendersonville Rd, you would take a left onto Hendersonville Rd to get to the CURRENT location at Summit Ave.

Instead of turning left at that light, go STRAIGHT THROUGH the light and the NEW Arts Center- South will be on your left hand side, directly across from the Fire Station. We have a BLUE AWNING, and parking right up against the building!

The NEW facility will bring endless growing potential for all areas of the arts and our students. We can’t wait for you to join us next week in this great new space. Tell all your friends to come and check us out!

November 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment

Local moms praise our Creative Arts Preschool!

From Darla, mother of Trevor:

“Trevor LOVES Asheville Arts Center preschool. When we looked at preschools, we wanted one that would help to develop his creativity, foster an outgoing personality, and instill a love of the arts that would follow him into adulthood. Asheville Arts Center fits the bill perfectly. Trevor not only interacts with his peers in a non-competitive, open and accepting environment, but is also exposed to a wide variety of art forms from singing and dancing to drawing, painting, and sculpture. We love that he goes twice a week to a place where people hang around merely for the love of performing and enjoying the performing arts. We want Trevor to grow into a well rounded man, equally comfortable with sports, business, and the art world, and the Asheville Arts Center preschool program is the perfect start along that path.”

From Shannon, mother of Lotus:
“I had been searching for a pre-school for my two year old, Lotus, for over 6 months. I was looking for a program that would emphasize learning and self expression before 3 years of age. I was no stranger to Asheville Arts Center and when I learned of the Creative Arts Preschool, I knew it would be the right fit. Here, she would enjoy music, singing, dancing and all the other wonderful aspects that the Asheville Arts Center has been recognized for. I scheduled a tour that day.

I knew from the moment we met Ms. Mandy that this was the school for us. She immediately connected with Lotus by giving her individual attention during our visit. She was the shining light that would comfort, teach and care for my child as I would. Ms. Karen was there to ease my mind as a mother. I had a hard time leaving my child but she reassured me that Lotus needed the social interaction as much as I needed the time to devote to my business and to myself. The center offers a safe environment and plenty of different settings for the children to play in. I also like that the younger children share a part of their day with the older children. The real testimony was when Lotus came home from our tour and already referred to it as “my school”.

We not only found a great program but a great community. One that is safe, inviting and always supportive. From that morning on, Ms. Mandy’s smile has never dimmed but only shines brighter. Lotus has tripled her vocabulary and comes home happy and content singing songs and sharing stories. It has been an experience that we’ve built on. She now enjoys Mommy and Me ballet and will continue with Kindermusik next session. I am so thankful for what the Creative Arts PreSchool has provided for our family. They have made our lives richer for it.”

From Sandy, mother of Iris:

“We love the Asheville Arts Center because you make learning fun. Iris seems more confident and balanced since attending the Arts Center. She wants to go to school on Saturdays!”

More information on our Creative Arts Preschool can be found here:

Tell Me More!

Or by calling 828.253.4000

2 locations:  Asheville & Arden.

The Creative Arts Preschool program offers hands-on learning so that children can discover the wonderful world around them. Research studies show that exposing children to the Performing Arts helps improve critical thinking and develop self-confidence. Children naturally respond to music, dance, art and drama. At the Asheville Arts Center, our curriculum incorporates all of this, while allowing each child to excel in other areas as well, such as math, science and language.

Ask us about our drop-in Wednesdays for new families!

November 17, 2009 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

Preschool-Aged Child? Come to our Mommies Tea on Wednesday, October 21st!

Do you have a preschool-aged child?  Come see what all of the excitement is about!

Try one FREE day of The Asheville Arts Center’s Creative Arts Preschool!

“Drop In” day is Wednesday, October 21st from 9:15-1:00.

While your child is enjoying a fun day of learning, music and more, come enjoy a delicious continental breakfast and great conversation with other mom’s of preschoolers at our Mommies Morning Out Tea from 10:00-12:30 at the beautiful Battery Park Champagne Bar

Battery_Park_Book_Exchange_and_Champagne_Bar_Asheville_NC

1 Battle Square – Asheville

We’ll have raffle prizes, give aways and more as well as having staff members on hand to answer any questions you might have regarding either our preschool or Kindermusik programs.

Please call Eliza today at 253-4000 to reserve your space!

Did you see us in Mountain Xpress this week?  In case you missed it…

preschoolad101909_2

October 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

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