A Belfast nonprofit is utilizing music, dance and motion to assist native college students who’ve solely been to high school through the COVID-19 pandemic discover ways to construct neighborhood.
Flying Sneakers, Belfast’s contra dance and music nonprofit, is getting ready to launch classroom programming for college kids in pre-kindergarten by second grade at Regional College Unit 71. The programming will assist them construct social and emotional studying abilities by group dancing, singalongs and motion workouts.
Flying Sneakers believes that dancing and songs have the facility to assist kids discover ways to construct neighborhood amid a pandemic that’s having profound results on their social and emotional abilities.
“Throughout the pandemic, [children] weren’t inspired to sit down at a desk head to head with one another and collaborate on issues collectively … Our specific types of participatory dance and music are excellent at connecting folks and serving to them actually perceive ‘you all must work collectively,’” Flying Sneakers Director Chrissy Fowler stated.
Flying Sneakers launched in 2005 as a month-to-month contra dance collection. By 2009, as an authorized nonprofit, Flying Sneakers expanded out of dance halls and into lecture rooms, nursing houses and libraries. The group has since been operating music and dance programming in RSU 71 and RSU 20.
Almost three years into the pandemic, educators and lecturers imagine their college students are falling behind of their social and emotional abilities — a capability to handle feelings, kind wholesome identities, change into socially conscious and construct relationships with others, in line with 2021 research from RAND and Dominican College of California. The work Flying Sneakers is doing goals to assist with that.
“In pandemic situations, you possibly can’t sit close to folks, bodily contact is a giant drawback. That actually impacts social emotional development and studying, which impacts classroom dynamics, impacts what kids can be taught in the event that they don’t really feel secure and cozy, particularly in a gaggle of individuals,” Fowler stated.
Gladys Weymouth and Ames Elementary colleges Principal Glen Widmer stated he’s seen these impacts manifest inside lecture rooms, particularly in how kids be taught to talk to 1 one other and harmoniously share a bodily house.
“They’re bouncing again fairly rapidly, however that stated, there are some higher wants,” he stated.
This programming, funded by a grant from Maine Neighborhood Basis, will likely be a chance for youths to discover ways to join with one another once more by contra dancing, finger performs, motion video games, and sing-alongs.
Fowler stated that there are advantages in overarching actions like studying tips on how to dance in an organized group and in one thing so simple as studying tips on how to ask one other pupil to bounce with them.
“It’s plenty of social emotional studying abilities, little habits, little scripts that assist kids observe treating one another as a neighborhood,” Fowler stated.
And naturally, Widmer stated, it’ll be a devoted time for happiness and enjoyable.
“I really feel there was a type of a darkish pall over all of us, pandemic, and perhaps we misplaced monitor of what pleasure appears to be like like and appears like,” Widmer stated. “There’s the enjoyment that comes from when these children are dancing with each other, when everyone has a giant smile on their face.”
Flying Sneakers will likely be bringing visiting artists to RSU 71’s East Belfast, Ames, Weymouth and Captain Albert colleges through the day to run dance lessons, music lessons and motion lessons with the youthful children. Visiting artists will embody Ethan Tischler, Ando Anderson and Jennifer Armstrong.
The programming will even be a chance for the visiting artists and lecturers to collaborate and be taught from each other. The applications will likely be knowledgeable by what classes lecturers are instructing their college students within the classroom, Fowler stated.
“It is going to actually depend upon what the instructing artists and their collaborating classroom lecturers really feel are the priorities,” Fowler stated.