Kindergartners may enter the school year with some trepidation over the academic world ahead of them. However, they usually adapt quickly to the new classroom setting, making friends and learning with enthusiasm. Because kindergarten often combines play with learning, teachers can use activities such as dance to teach their students cooperation, body awareness, movement, rhythm, self-control and storytelling.
Storytelling Line Dances
Choose a story and song with which kindergartners may be familiar -- a song from a Disney movie is usually a good choice. The teacher should play the song and explain the story for those students who may be unfamiliar with it. He then talks about how different dance movements can show different ideas and emotions, demonstrating this by dancing out a small portion of the song himself. He then leads the students through learning the various movements before putting them to music. This activity teaches storytelling through movement as well as rhythm and relationship reinforcement.
Scattered Square Dance
The teacher prepares for this activity by placing X's on the dance area. Space the marks at least 4 feet apart to give plenty of room for movement. Each child should stand on one mark. The teacher then leads the students through learning age-appropriate square dance movements such as the cactus by balancing on one leg, the twister by spinning in a circle, and hit-the-hay by falling down and pretending to sleep. Next, the teacher plays any square dance music she chooses, calling out movements to the rhythm of the dance. The students perform these movements on call. This activity promotes movement, rhythm and memory.
Creative Story Movement
Select a story and music that fits the mood of that story. The teacher should mark places to pause during the read-aloud and prepare questions to fit those pauses -- such as, "What do you think this character feels like right now?" Tell the students that you will pause and ask questions during the story. They should respond to the question with movement, not words, demonstrating their answer to the teacher's question. This activity promotes creative and free movement, as well as story interpretation.
Dancing on Different Levels
The teacher obtains a copy of the song, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." She explains to the students that they will be acting out lion hunting and movements to the song. The students should start by forming one large circle with 2 feet of space between them. The teacher demonstrates and slowly leads the students through the dance movements -- including marching, waking up, moving in and out of the circle and swaying. The students then perform the dance with different levels of energy such as low, medium or high. Alternately, students can perform on a low, medium or high plane, or with wide or narrow marching.
- girls in kindergarten image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com