Posts tagged “dance confidence self-esteem relational skills empathy mediation youth movement

Movement & Education – Self-Esteem, Relations, and Conflict

I have recently come across several programs that bring dance into schools.  They have caught my attention because they focus on building self-esteem and addressing conflict, two issues that have arisen repeatedly in our study of court-involved youth.

Move This World is a nonprofit that “engages students Pre-K—12, educators, administrators, families, and corporate leaders in movement-based activities that promote empathy, mediation skills, and conflict transformation.”

While in Philadelphia recently a program there called Dancing with the Students was featured in the news.  This program develops “positive self-esteem, proper manners, and respect for others” (the use of the phrase proper manners is worthy of a separate critique).

This program was in part inspired by a NYC-based dance program that works to “build confidence” and “cultivate essential life skills in children through the practice of social dance.”

What all of these programs have in common is the use of a physical, movement-based approach to engage young people and build their confidence and relational skills, all things that are noticeably lacking in classrooms.  I would argue that court-involved youth might benefit disproportionately from these types of programs if they are more likely to struggle with a purely academic curriculum, not be in home environments where confidence and relational skills are nurtured, and be often faced with conflict.