The program, which is specifically designed for early years learning (in children aged four to five years), provides access to movement and dance for children who may not otherwise have access to ballet for social, economic or geographic reasons. Kindy Moves allows young children to understand that dance is for everyone, and to develop confidence in moving and dancing for enjoyment. Through modelling and co-artistry the program also provides a source of professional development for kindergarten teachers, as well as a supported transition model for professional dancers who may wish to teach.
With funding from an Arts Queensland Artist in Residence Grant, The Gowrie (Qld) Inc. engaged QB to present the Kindy Moves program at Lady Gowrie Caboolture East Community Kindergarten. As this was the first delivery of the program, QB commissioned Queensland University of Technology to undertake an evaluation of Kindy Moves.The findings would be used in redeveloping QB’s informal teaching approaches for delivery in a formal early years learning context. They would also provide insight into the impact of teaching artists working alongside kindergarten educators to deliver movement programs in early years learning contexts.
The program has a number of learning goals for children. By the end of it, they should develop a new, kinaesthetic approach to learning core skills; be able to express themselves creatively and use movement to aid in understanding literacy and numeracy. They should develop a disposition for understanding the world through dance; they should feel an enhanced sense of belonging and enjoyment in attending kindergarten, and they should become connected to and feel valued by QB.
A number of case studies in the QUT’s evaluation showed that Kindy Moves was able to increase children’s self-confidence and enabled greater use of social competencies. For example, a teacher described watching the progress of a child with cerebral palsy. Over the ten weeks of the program, the child’s confidence in his body grew resulting in an increase in physical engagement with his environment and peers.
Another child was described as having social-emotional difficulties related to working with peers, emotional attachment and self-isolation. By week seven, the child was gaining
trust of herself and of those around her. Another child, who rarely smiled spontaneously, made a small movement toward independent engagement and showed signs of enjoyment. A child described as being shy and preferring to play alone would share some of the movements and talk about what was done in Kindy Moves, at home.
The report provided a number of commendations and recommendations that QB will incorporate into their evolving program.