Why is dance important in the early years? An interview with Liz Clark

Image credit: Turned on its Head dance company

Children love to move! In fact, we were all born to do it.

Dance is a fun and creative way to get young children connecting with their bodies. Research has demonstrated it also directly helps with young children’s physical and sensorimotor development.

However, while many teachers and parents know that children’s creative movement is important, many are hesitant to do it as they don’t think they are good at it!

I recently spoke with Liz Clark, an English early years dance artist, about the importance of dance and creative movement in children’s lives.

Liz is the Artistic Director of the Turned on its Head, a dance company that has produced popular children’s dance performances including Sponge and Shiny.

In our conversation, Liz shares some fantastic ideas for how adults can do creative movement at home with little ones – no fancy equipment or dance skills needed.

She also gives some great tips and resources for parents and teachers interested in learning more about this important art form!

Listen to the recording below to learn more.

Mentioned Links

Talent 25 study – Liz mentions her work as an artist-in-residence on the the Talent 25 project, a research study looking at the importance of creativity in babies lives over a 25-year timeframe! Run by De Montfort University Leicester in partnership with Arts Council England, the research is looking at how different creative activities affect the children’s income, well-being and opportunities throughout their lives. It’s the first study of its kind tracking children from such a young age. Since recording this interview, Liz has moved on from her position at Talent 25.

Dancing with a woolly jumper video– In this instructional video, Liz shares how parents and teachers can use a woolly jumper as a provocation for children’s dance and creative movement activities.

The dancing with children outside activity – a blog post that shares images from Liz’s time spent doing outdoor creative movement with preschoolers. Continued with this blog post.

Creative movement instructional video – this activity is based on the book ‘It’s not just a blanket’

People Dancing Early Years Networkfor anyone wanting to connect with other practitioners interested in early years dance.

Dance Ideas 4 Early Years – A Facebook group featuring early years creative movement ideas!

Image credit: Turned on its Head dance company

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Image credit: Turned on its Head dance company

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