DEL Early Childhood: Reflections from our Arnhold Summer Fellows

In week two of our Summer Institute, the Arnhold Summer Fellows joined our course on Early Childhood education.

This course is all about creating developmentally appropriate dance lessons and classroom activities for children ages 3-7. We discuss Early Childhood lesson planning and effective teaching strategies, as well as working with children with disabilities and teaching online.

Our Fellows reflected on their own early years in the classroom, considering the impact of movement (or lack of movement) in their schools.

Fellow Rayna Richardson shared:

“Dance in early childhood education is essential for children in every part of the world. Through dance education, young children are given an opportunity to create, collaborate with others, build self-confidence, understand senses, and develop emotional and social skills. Dance education is not only beneficial for young children, but also for dance teachers and artists who acquire knowledge through planning, interacting, and connecting with children. This week has taught me the importance of dance education for young children who can express themselves and communicate through movement.”

Godfrey Muwulya, master teacher and performing artist specializing in Traditional East African dances from Uganda, had a big impact on Arnhold Summer Fellow Diana Acosta:

“One experience that I will forever cherish was our time spent with Godfrey Muwulya. I learned a lot of educational strategies from him just by taking and experiencing his class. I learned how to engage a group of young students, how to start with something basic like clapping your hands and then progress to the same pattern with your feet, how to incorporate instruments and music into the dance space, how to teach about the culture and history of where the dance comes from, and most importantly… how to have fun! Not only did I learn so much about dance education I learned so much about Uganda, the Ankole region, and the Ekitaguriro dances.”

Learn more about Godfrey and the Ekitaguriro dance here:

The course ended with a ‘Gratitude Dance’ taught by DEL Facilitator Deborah Damast to give thanks and share support for one another. Fellow Sarah Dewey said:

“I am interested in the dance educator career path, and if I was to become a dance teacher in public schools I will most definitely be using the DEL model to help structure my lessons, making sure that everyone is on the track to fulfilling their goals.”

Fellow Grace Stuckey expressed that although this course is online, the energy of the educators was still very much palpable through the screen. From Grace: “Each speaker this week modeled what I want to be someday: an enthusiastic dance educator. I felt each speaker’s dedication and determination through the screen and this flowed into my soul.”

The Fellows were energized and excited to dive into week three and shift their focus to Hip Hop!

The DEL Summer Institute continues through July. Learn more!