I am honored to be leading the Community Folk Dance this week at KMEA. I think movement is one of the most important parts of an elementary classroom yet I know many people who are intimidated by it. Over the years I've had students in summer Orff courses share that they are afraid that their classrooms will get out of control or just don't feel like they have the repertoire of activities to include movement.
I think the most important part of my job is building community and creating climate for learning. Before we even think about curriculum, we need to recognize and remember that we are teaching children. Their families sent their very best kiddo to school that morning, and it's our job to love them and hopefully teach them a few things along the way. The longer I teach, the more I understand that our kids social-emotional wellness is the most important thing we teach at school. Again, everything points back to community and a climate for learning.
In the music classroom, I see this as creating a safe place for all learners. Integrating movement into my classroom from the very first time I see classes in Kindergarten allows my students to feel comfortable. We include creative movement as well as organized movement throughout their elementary years. My 4th and 5th graders LOVE LOVE LOVE folk dancing, and I'm not as concerned with their getting all of the steps correct as I am that they are enjoying one another and time in my classroom. Again, we've got to love on these kids.