Many young children enjoy ballet. It’s a fun activity with comfortable and fun attire. However, beyond that, creative movement ballet is a great way to help children master developmental milestones.
Often, we think of milestones in terms of crawling, rolling, sitting, etc. However, there are many important developmental milestones in the preschool years children need to master. In fact, mastering these milestones aid in cognitive development and school readiness.
Here are a few ways developmental milestones and dance go hand in hand:
Gross Motor Skills – Developmental Milestones And Dance
Gross motor skills in infancy tend to be easy to remember. We know babies should master rolling, crawling, sitting, and eventually walking. However, their amazing development doesn’t stop once they learn to walk.
We’ll naturally see our children begin to move faster. However, they also need to master more complex gross motor skills. Once upon a time children spent time on farms, endless hours running outside, many had access to playgrounds. Today, more children spend time indoors, in classrooms, etc.
Some important gross motor skills for 3–5-year-olds to master include:
- Going up and down the stairs without assistance
- Being able to balance on one foot
- Hop on one foot
- Kick, catch and throw a ball
- Easily move backwards and forwards
- Able to climb playgrounds well
- Walk on a balance beam (low to the ground)
- Begin to hold their weight with their arms on a bar
Mastering these milestones takes coordination and strength. The increase in strength comes from frequent opportunities to move and engage muscles in big motor play. Mastering coordination takes practice and sometimes guidance.
Creative movement ballet classes offer children both. They have an opportunity to be exposed to coordinated and guided movement while also improving strength. Ballet is an excellent addition to your child’s typical play.
Creative Movement Sets The Stage For Core Stability
True ballet movements are difficult to master before ages 6-8 due to core development. However, early movement is vital to developing core stability. Children do not magically develop core stability and strength at a certain age.
Core stability and strength begins with lots of tummy time in infancy. In the toddler years it’s encouraged through frequent gross motor play. For preschoolers, exposure to big play through dance, playgrounds, etc. aids in giving children opportunity to develop their core strength.
By balancing on one foot, twirling, leaping, and more, children are naturally engaging their core muscles. Putting together a variety of activity options for your children ensures a variety of muscles get engaged. When you combine dance classes with time at the playground, time running in the backyard, or with playing basketball, you’re ensuring whole body muscle development. Most importantly, you’re giving them plenty of time to engage their cores.
With regular core engagement, especially as they learn to bend and twist, you’re setting them up to develop good core stability. More than just strength, core stability helps with posturing and function.
Improved Cognitive Development
The connection between mastering gross motor skills and cognitive development is astounding. Research shows the more children move, the better they learn. Dance provides more than basic exercise.
When children dance, they’re exposed to music and patterns. This exposure combined with movement aids in important pre-math skills. Children must first understand patterns to understand math. More than simply seeing patterns, dance requires movement and feeling the patterns.
Movement is an important part of developing understanding of directional words and instructions such as:
Understanding directional words is important for many areas of learning including reading. Movement and mastering motor skills helps in the development of neuropathways which directly impact cognitive development,
Creative movement ballet is an excellent activity to help aid in your child’s overall development. Be sure to get started today!