At Dance Out Loud we are interested in Arts Education in and of itself and as a vehicle for child development, individual expression, community building, peace training and changing the world — not a small endeavor, by any means. Let’s begin with the most important part: why music and movement for young children?
Perceptual-motor efficiency is the means by which a child uses their body to get feedback from the world around them in order to develop motor skills, cognitive abilities and abstract thinking. Basically this means that when children move, and make decisions about how they move, they form connections in their brains and bodies which last a lifetime.
When we give young children the tools to move their bodies and express themselves through art, dance and drama, we not only give them skills in artistry. We also give them confidence and ways to express themselves positively, which makes them less likely to strike out and more likely to communicate effectively. When children are also taught empathy and peace-building on an artistic platform, these concepts are more likely to be internalized in both the brain and the muscle memory. And when children are taught confidence, self-love and empathy, they become living examples of peaceful and productive ways of being in the world.
Research shows that children who have high self-worth and coping skills are less likely to bully or to be bullied. It also shows that children who learn how to be advocates for themselves and others, rather than bystanders, are changing the face of bullying. In Alameda Unified School District, for example, there is an anti-bullying campaign that addresses the bullied, the bully and the bystander, and helps to give them all tools to stop bullying behavior. The KiVa program in Finland is shown to decrease bullying across the board for all ages of school students (http://www.kivakoulu.fi/there-is-no-bullying-in…; We at Dance Out Loud believe that children who are taught to value themselves, each other, and the world we live in are less likely to engage in any side of the bullying triangle.
Our P.E.A.C.E Out Loud program is the culmination of many years of research and practice in classrooms, hospitals and community centers throughout the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles Areas. Through dance, music, drama and visual arts programs we have been able to help shape the immediate and long term circumstances in the lives of so many children with a broad range of abilities and situations. We are continuing to do this work regardless of limited resources. With the help of this grant we will be able to reach an exponential amount of children, and help shape a generation where every child has the tools for a peaceful, productive and art-filled life.
Help us fund our launch!
Free to you: Please Vote for Dance Out Loud, Oakland at the http://www.missionsmallbusiness.com grant competition. Just log in with your Facebook ID and you could help us win a $250,000 grant!
Our IndieGoGo Campaign has just launched! Help fund us and spread the word: