Awareness planted in children continues to flourish
as they mature into adults.
For 26 years, Dance in the Schools has played an important role in the Cambridge community. Dance is known to elevate students’ cultural, personal, and community awareness, helping them to grow into individuals who listen to the world around them. Substantial evidence supports the ways in which dance is beneficial for children’s development and growth. According to the National Dance Education Organization, these include physical development, emotional maturity, social awareness, and cognitive development. Dance is a form of education that allows students to use their own physical energy to understand concepts and ideas. It gives children the opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions through movement rather than words, helping them connect with themselves and each other.
Dance is unparalleled in its ability to reach every child and give them ownership of their bodies and their learning. Dance in the Schools staff work passionately to ensure that every student, regardless of race, gender identification, sexuality, ability, religious and cultural background, nationality, ethnicity, and language, is able and welcome to participate in Dance in the Schools.
Awareness planted in children continues to flourish as they mature into community members. Dance in the Schools exposes the next generation – of learners, educators, consumers, leaders, and others – to the vital art form of dance. As such, the program will contribute to growth in cultural, artistic, societal, and academic arenas well into the future.
As a Cambridge kindergarten teacher in the 1990s, I had the opportunity to work each year with a talented dancer/teacher through what was then called Dance Month… the dance teacher and I would work together to figure out how to connect movement and dance to the topics my students were learning about in the classroom. I always came out of these collaborations with “new eyes” for how to incorporate movement and dance… to help children think about and represent their learning. In my current position… I have seen Dance in the Schools develop and flourish under the leadership of Erica Sigal… Erica works tirelessly to find dancers who are also skilled teachers of young children, and then to match the talents of these teachers with the needs and interests of the various classroom teachers- from a classroom project on plants to a learning ‘expedition’ to another country.Jessica Wenning, Kindergarten Staff Developer at Cambridge Public Schools:
Dance in the Schools meets an important need by providing students the opportunity to learn in and through the art of dance and dance integration with other curricular subjects… The work of Dance in the Schools as shown by the teacher evaluations is of high quality due to the excellence and experience of the teaching artists. The program works to connect dance learning with the curricular goals of the participating teachers, enabling students to gain deeper, broader learning in the curriculum related subject matter being addressed. The program has also received very supportive feedback from principals who recognize and appreciate Dance in the Schools’ positive impact on student learning.Diane Daily, Education Program Manager at Mass Cultural Council
I strongly support expanding the Dance in the Schools program in the Cambridge Public Schools. This is a terrific program that has served all of our elementary schools annually… The teacher evaluations of the program have been stellar and [they] always ask for more time with the Dance Teaching Artists… Principals, teachers, and students love Dance in the Schools.Elaine Koury, Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts at Cambridge Public Schools
This was so great! My virtual kids felt like they went on a field trip.Christina Clark – Kindergarten – Fletcher-Maynard Academy – Alice Heller
We absolutely love your program! Thank you so much.Lucia Soriano – Preschool teacher – Kennedy-Longfellow
One of the most amazing things we observed was that our students with Autism and Down Syndrome were able to participate with minimal adult support. Their peer partners were really helping them stay focused and follow directions.Caitlin O’Donnell – Grade 1 – Fletcher-Maynard Academy – Ashley Weaver
From Dance Teaching Artists
I am proud of getting students to move in different ways and to think about acting, dancing and storytelling creatively, without props. I think I effectively shared the message that our bodies and dancing can tell a story in a way that is abstract but legible.Maggie Crowley, Dance Teaching Artist
This experience was one of the best I have had since the pandemic. It was unique in that I enjoyed visiting the classrooms online as much as I had enjoyed visiting in person in years past.Sarah Fader, Dance Teaching Artist
I wish we could have Dance in the Schools all year long. This program brings so many rich elements to classroom learning.Sarah Fader – Dance Teaching Artist
I like that we get exercise. It is good for your body. I felt happy.Student 2015
I learned a new song people sometimes sing in West Africa – ‘Welcome! And peace to you!’ I sang it to my mom and showed her what it (the movements) looked like.Student, 2015