The goal of Storybook Dancesm is to bring these ideas, in their simplest forms, to teachers, librarians, and anyone spending time caring for young children. It is not necessary to be a trained dancer or musician to implement this method. It is only necessary to understand the concept of integrating the arts into education to engage the whole child and bring joy into the learning process. Getting Started An easy application of the Storybook Dance method, for any therapist and early childhood educator to try, starts with a book with illustrations. An example is The Great Kapok Tree—A Tale of The Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry. This book is filled with animals and habitat and a story with a moral. Take time to examine each animal and imagine how it might move. It is not necessary to be the animal, only to move like it. Some movements may be most fun in a group, such as a giant snake. Animals move at different tempos; discuss the difference between monkeys and the three-toed sloth. Using percussion music as a background, allow the students to experiment with their own interpretations of animal movements. Perhaps they could take turns guessing each other’s animals. For great percussion music go to www.brentLewis.com. Finally, make a mural of the habitat of these animals using the art in the book as a guide. It is not important to copy the illustrator exactly, but rather to experiment with color and texture. A more in depth project might involve acting out the story with animal head pieces for parents or a younger class. References Davidson, K. R. (2010). Dancing Their Way Through LearningExpanding Movement Vocabulary. Manuscript submitted for publication. Davidson, K. & Coy, W. (2009). Doodle music for drawing and dancing. Guilford, CT: K. Davidson. Jensen, E. (2001). Arts with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria,VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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O’Neill, M. (1989). Hailstones and Halibut Bones. New York, N.Y.: Doubleday. Resources Feierabend, J. M. (1986). Music for very little people. 50 playful activities for infants and toddlers. Farmington, N.Y.: Boosey and Hawkes. Feierabend, J. M. (1989). Music for little people. 50 playful activities for preschool and early elementary school children. New York, N.Y.: Boosey and Hawkes. Gilbert, A. G. (1992). Creative dance for all ages. Reston, VA: National Dance Association. Joyce, M. (1984). Dance technique for children. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield. Mettler, B.(1960). Materials of dance as a creative art Activity. Tucson, AR: Mettler Studios. Pink, D. H. (2005). A whole new mind-why right-brainers will rule the future. New York,N.Y.: Penquin Group. About the Author Karen R. Davidson, past faculty/ administrator for Neighborhood Music School, New Haven, CT, for 23 years, was Head of the Early Childhood Program and the Dance Program in the Guilford Branch. She taught music and movement classes for infants and toddlers aged 6 months to 5 years, as well as Creative Dance, Modern Dance, and Storybook Dance (which she originated in 1986). She currently offers teacher development workshops in her method and can be contacted through her website, www.StorybookDance.com Contact: Karen@StorybookDance.com
Additional early childhood music therapy resources available at www.imagine.musictherapy.biz.