Allowing a creative outlet for your children is one of the best things you can do for them. Here are just three areas for your child to explore – dance, music and drama.
DANCING TO THRIVE
Dance can benefit children through the physical act of dancing, as well as developing their cognitive development, emotional and social development, musicality, and creativity, writes NATALIE SIMÔN from the Canterbury Academy of Dance.
Structured dance lessons can be incredibly beneficial to children of all ages. From the age of two, a dance class can aid children in the development of their gross and fine motor skills, making choices and figuring out how their bodies can move and what they are capable of. They can improve their sense of empathy through mime and acting, and their social skills by following basic instructions and waiting for their turn.
Having the freedom to express themselves through music is hugely beneficial to children of all ages. Dance aids children in developing their understanding of tempo and dynamics – watch any child dance to “Let it Go” – they can really feel the music. The confidence gained by being able to dance freely is incredibly valuable.
As children progress through dance, the skills gained have many benefits outside of the world of dance. Dancers tend to be more resilient – putting in the work to improve a skill builds a feeling of competence and a sense of mastery. Dancers know how to set goals and achieve them, they are focused and disciplined, and they can think creatively. These skills benefit dancers while in school academically, and once they are grown, they enter the adult world capable and ready to thrive.
IMAGINE, CREATE, PERFORM
At Canvas Bag Drama School, we take stories — everything from traditional fables to modern-day tales — and imagine ourselves inside the stories. We can be anyone or anything; from a mermaid to an ogre.
We run age-ranked drama classes for children and teenagers aged from 5-15 years.
Our classes combine a structured fun-filled social environment with extensive use of improvisation and role-play to develop positive feelings of self-worth and the ability to express thoughts and feelings confidently.
We go on to create our own stories and scripts with characters we have explored. We can be anyone or anything, from a genie inside a lamp to an erupting volcano.
Our classes are intense, energetic and move at a fast pace. They are designed to generate enthusiasm and initiative through various games and skill-based tasks.
Tutors write plays each year using ideas generated in the class by the students. Every year we rehearse and perform these original scripts to a public audience. We use costumes, props and musical instruments as tools; students love using all these resources to experiment and create their own stories.
There’s always lots of laughter and lots of fun in a Canvas Bag drama class, and for many students, it is the highlight of their week!
SINGING IS A NATURAL MOOD-BOOSTER
When we sing, we release the endorphins dopamine and oxytocin – both ‘feel good’ hormones, writes KATIE ANSTISS from the Christchurch Music Academy.
The simple act of singing reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies, which in turn lowers any depression levels and anxiety in us. Interestingly, studies have shown that when we come together and sing in a group format, the emotional and physiological benefits of singing are amplified.
This is an evolutionary thing because music evolved throughout the ages as a tool to aid social living, communication and bonds between tribes. Our bodies are hard-wired today to experience the same emotional benefits of our ancestors.
We can certainly verify this phenomenon! We’ve observed that when our little ones and their parents are engaged in singing, music and movement inside our studios, amazing things happen! Every little and big person leaves us wearing a huge smile at the end of our sessions, and we see so many relationships deepen every day between students and their parents.
But it’s not just singing that we work on at the Christchurch Music Academy. If you want to give your child the best possible start in life to support their language growth, motor skill development, improve their memory, and aid them to internalise rhythm, the best thing to do is to give them the gift of music lessons.