Friday, November 4, 2011

Connie Dow: DANCE!!!


Hello from the NAEYC conference in Orlando! 
My name is Connie Bergstein Dow. Debbie Clement and I will be presenting together our workshop later today. -- we plan to rock the room with singing and dancing!  I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this collective blogging project.  I look forward to contributing my experience in the field of dance, as well as learning from the other experts in the early childhood field.  First, I would like to introduce myself and give you some information on my background. 

When I was young, I was very flexible and had a difficult time getting my body to move in an integrated way.  My mother said I used to trip over the patterns in a carpet.  She signed me up for dance classes to help me to develop balance, strength, and coordination.  This wonderful opportunity was my introduction to the art form of dance.  I found that I loved to dance; it gave me self-confidence and a voice to express myself; and it led me to a life-long career.          

I want to share the knowledge gained in my lifetime of dance and make it accessible and fun for teachers and caregivers, so that they can in turn offer movement opportunities to their students.  Movement is something that children want and need to do, and that teachers enjoy once they become comfortable guiding movement sessions.  Perhaps best and most importantly, there are countless benefits for the children who participate in creative movement activities.  

I grew up in Cincinnati and went to Denison University and then on to graduate school at the University of Michigan.  I had a professional performing career for about 12 years, which took me from Michigan, to Venezuela, Guatemala, New York, and finally back to Cincinnati. I have been fortunate to be able to continue working in the field of dance as a teacher, writer, and workshop provider, as a dance educator with 40 years of experience.  

I wrote a book for teachers of young children, Dance, Turn, Hop, Learn!  Enriching Movement Activities for Preschoolers (Redleaf Press) in 2006.  The reason I wrote the book was to help teachers gain the tools to bring movement into the classroom, to use while teaching subjects across the spectrum of the curriculum.  The book is a step-by-step handbook, and gives a number of tips for teachers for managing the classroom while guiding movement activities, and offers countless ideas for integrating movement seamlessly into the learning process. 

My second book, One, Two, What Can I Do?  Dance and Music for the Whole Day (Redleaf Press, 2011) is full of new movement activities for children ages 3 to 6.  Many of the activities are designed around the delightful songs and instrumentals in the double CD by Debbie Clement, which accompanies the book.

My dance journey has been rich and rewarding.  I have studied this art form from many angles, from training, performing, teaching, writing, to being an informed and appreciative audience of all kinds of dance.  I have developed an understanding of the importance of movement in our lives. I continue to share my passion for dance by giving workshops to early childhood professionals who want to bring dance into the daily lives of the children in their classrooms and centers.  I demonstrate classroom management techniques that are inherent in the art form to show how dance can be used to teach virtually any subject across the curriculum, while addressing early childhood learning standards.  I feel strongly that dance, and the other arts, are not "extras;" they are essential and transformational forces in our lives.

In saying good-bye for today, I would like to leave you with this food for thought!  Here is a brief summary of some of the wonderful benefits of offering movement opportunities to children.  Did you know that dance can:

TEACH
  •       Early Literacy
  •      Mathematic Skills
  •      Science and Social Studies
  •      Concepts such as Colors, Shapes, & Opposites
DEVELOP
  •      Self-Control and Body Awareness
  •      Individual and Group Cooperation
  •      Listening, Understanding, & Concentration
  •      Reasoning and Problem-Solving Skills
  •      Creativity
  •      Large and Fine Motor Skills
  •      Life-Long Healthy Habits
 In my next entry, I will elaborate on these and other important gifts of creative movement!

Connie Bergstein Dow

2 comments:

  1. I loved learning about your work, Connie! I always loved incorporating dance and movement into "circle time" activities when I was a teacher. And my daughter brought dance into our family through her love of dance from the time she was very young. She's now a professional ice dancer/skating coach/Zumba instructor among other fitness and dance-related activities. I really appreciate that you're giving children the opportunity to develop a true love of dance! Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Connie Bergstein DowNovember 17, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    That's great to hear, Deb! It sounds like you have a lot of movement in your background and in your family. I appreciate the encouragement about how important it is to incorporate movement into a child's life!

    ReplyDelete

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