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Embedding Literacy and Numeracy in the Dance Curriculum

By Jan Bolwell


Early this year a group of Steiner school parents in our village, Paekakariki, approached me and asked if I would teach an after-school creative dance class for their seven to ten year olds. The children and I meet every Tuesday afternoon for an hour in the old village hall with its wooden shuttered windows, well-worn wooden floor and small, original raked stage. This past term we have been reading and dancing to John Lithgow’s clever and amusing revision of Saint Saen’s Carnival of the Animals, a version staged successfully by New York City Ballet with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon.

At other times we create dances or we are engaged in listening, counting and grouping beats, responding to action words, grappling with shape and spatial concepts and learning technical dance language. 

Dance educators in our state schools are aware that this is not their ‘moment in the sun’. The National-led government pounds away at National Standards in literacy and numeracy, even though international research resoundingly reports that 70-80 percent of variation in student achievement can be attributed to a child’s home circumstances. The consequent distortion of the New Zealand curriculum has everything to do with political ideology and very little to do with education.

Read the full article (Iss. 25) Embedding Literacy and Numeracy in the Dance Curriculum

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