Moving Bodies Learning Minds
Moving Bodies Learning Minds is an eight week creative movement curriculum designed for the Pre-K classroom. First developed for the Grow Up Great with the Arts initiative supported by the PNC Foundation in 2012, the curriculum has been taught in 58 classrooms in Wake and Durham counties, serving almost 900 students in Title I, NC Pre-K, and special education classrooms.
The program is an engaging, hands-on artist-in-residency program that provides meaningful creative movement experiences to at-risk students. In addition to helping students gain important motor skills, the program also targets literacy, math, and social-emotional learning. Each lesson focuses on a specific movement concept and includes a BrainDance warm up, one or more focus activities, and a cool down exercise. Throughout the lessons, important academic concepts such as counting, shapes, vocabulary, and spatial awareness are integrated. Additionally, several lessons incorporate books and enable students to “dance the story” and engage with books in a new way.
Moving Bodies Learning Minds also includes a robust professional development component for participating educators. Carolina Ballet hosts a teacher workshop prior to the residencies that introduces fundamental movement concepts and techniques for incorporating dance and movement into the classroom. Teachers also receive ongoing professional development throughout the residency and are encouraged to take on a co-leadership role with the teaching artist and lead portions of the dance lessons. We strive to create a lasting impact in the classrooms we serve by influencing positive long-term changes in teachers’ instructional practice.
- 100% of participating teachers felt that the program was “extremely valuable” for their students
- 100% of participating teachers report that the program provided them with new strategies and ideas for using movement in the classroom, and 100% of participating teachers plan to continue using aspects of the program
“All children were encouraged to participate and were proud to be able to do each activity. Some children who do not usually participate did in this activity. It was wonderful to watch children problem solve with moving their bodies certain ways and attend and persist. They then carried it over to problem solving and persisting in other activities.” – 2016 Participating Teacher
“After participating in so many grants, and research projects, I have to say that this eight week project had more of an impact on my teaching, and my students, and families (sharing photos and videos of their children) than any of the others I have experienced. The children remembered the lessons from week to week and connected them during the week as well. I plan to use more movement for all of my lessons after watching and participating in this grant. Thank you!” – 2016 Participating Teacher
“It was very helpful to have the dance teachers in OUR classrooms leading OUR kids so that we could watch and learn, help our kids participate, and offer suggestions then apply things we've learned between sessions! Much more helpful than going to multiple sessions with just teachers.” – 2016 Participating Teacher
Moving Bodies Learning Minds residencies have been made possible by the support of PNC Foundation and the Hillsdale Fund. Special education classroom residencies are a VSA program and are provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
This program is supported by the PNC Foundation.