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This week at Forestville Montessori School, we invited the wonderful Kei from Montessori Dance to share insights about teaching dance in a Montessori environment.

Movement at Montessori

A key element that differentiates Montessori schools from the mainstream is our child-centred approach, emphasising the development of the whole child.

Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori approach, believed that education should cater to all aspects of a child’s development—intellectual, physical, social, and emotional. Thus, movement, creativity, art and culture are integrated into our curriculum, not merely for variety, but as integral components of the Montessori philosophy.

Movement is a distinctive feature of Montessori education and is incorporated into all stages of learning. At FMS, this starts from our baby and toddler programs and continues all the way through to upper primary.

Montessori Dance

Dance: it’s essential to our humanity

Dance, as a form of creative movement and art, perfectly encapsulates this holistic approach.

It is an expressive medium that allows children to communicate feelings and thoughts through movement, fostering emotional maturity and self-awareness. Dance is an intrinsic part of human nature.

This was sentiment is beautifully captured by this quote Kei shared during her presentation:

“It is the physical expression through movement and rhythm of relationships, feelings and ideas. Nobody invented dance. It is deep in the heart of every culture throughout history; dance is part of the pulse of humanity.”

Sir Ken Robinson 2018


Dance is integral to the human experience.

Across style, genre and tradition, dance can be recreational, formal, sacred and social. As Kei reminded us, there is no right or wrong way. Dance is simply for everyone.

To highlight the link between human nature   and dance, Kei shared this list of ways dance supports various human tendencies. I’m sure you can think of more!

  • To communicate
  • To control oneself
  • To explore
  • To imagine
  • To work
  • To prefect oneself
  • To create meaning
  • To be social
  • To be curious
  • To orient oneself
  • To concentrate
  • To seek precision
  • To move
  • To observe
  • To create order
  • To imitate
  • To repeat
  • To belong

More than Movement

Of course, dance satisfies our need for physical movement and activity too. Beyond the physical, there are a myriad of cognitive, social and emotional skills developed and refined through dance. Kei identified some of these as follows:

Physical: Spatial awareness, coordination, balance, kinesthetic awareness, motor planning, sensorial refinement. Dance also improves balance, physical flexibility, and strength. These physical benefits are crucial during the early years when children are rapidly developing their motor abilities.

Cognitive: Decision making, problem solving, divergent thinking, sequencing, self-direction. Dance requires children to remember steps and sequences, enhancing memory, attention, and concentration. It also encourages spatial awareness and understanding of the body in relation to space and time

Social: Collaboration, respect, inclusion, communication, connection and flexibility. Dance encourages children to work together harmoniously, building a sense of community and belonging.

Emotional: Self-expression, confidence, risk taking, accomplishment, sense of oneness, self-awareness. It helps children express themselves without words, which can be particularly beneficial for those who are not yet verbally articulate.

Beyond these key benefits, dance also offers opportunities for children to develop patience, practice and perseverance. It stimulates the imagination and encourages creative thinking.

And if you need another reason to get your children (and yourself) into the groove, dance is always a great way to have fun!

Dancing at Montessori

Dance brings joy and excitement to the classroom, which can ignite a passion for learning. When children associate learning with positive emotions, they are more likely to engage and retain information.

In Montessori schools, dance is not taught in isolation. It is often linked with other areas of the curriculum, such as language, mathematics, and science. For example, children might learn about geometric shapes by forming them with their bodies, or explore the concept of rhythm through dance, which can later be connected to patterns in math or the cadence in poetry.

Ultimately, the goal of teaching dance in Montessori schools is to support the development of well-rounded individuals.

It is about nurturing not just the mind but also the body and spirit.

Dance, with its myriad of benefits, is an essential component of this process. It aligns with the Montessori belief that education should be an aid to life, preparing children not just for academic success but for a fulfilling and balanced life.

We thank Kei for bringing the joy, fun and freedom of Montessori Dance to FMS students this term. Look out for the Forestville Montessori School video entry to Dance for Peace, coordinated and created by Kei on behalf of FMS. It will be included as part of the Dance for Peace celebration of the International Day of Peace & Non-Violence on September 21st, 2024.

For more information about Kei and Montessori Dance, click here.

Would you like to know more about Montessori education & programs at FMS?

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Denice Scala

Author Denice Scala

B.A, M.Ed, Dip ED, Dip RSA, Cert. Neuroscience. Principal, Forestville Montessori School. Denice Scala is an executive leader with extensive experience in key strategic roles requiring business transformation and innovation. As a passionate advocate for the power of education to enrich lives, Denice moved from classroom teaching to leadership positions in 1992 and since then has held international in roles in Scotland and Australia as Principal, Head of Junior School, and Head of Learning Support. She has an impressive working knowledge of early learning, primary, middle, and secondary schooling including gifted education and special needs. Her Masters in Gifted Education led her to work extensively to find ways to cater for gifted students. This led to providing professional development opportunities for educators to assist in their understanding of the characteristics of gifted children and the complexities of growing up gifted. Denice’s unparalleled grasp of current educational realities is equally matched by her big picture thinking combined with practical solutions to navigate change. Denice’s passion for Montessori education led her to undertake the AMI Introduction to Adolescents Course, to audit the AMI 6-12 Diploma, and to also currently undertake the AMI School Administration Certificate Course.

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