Kindergarten curriculum need to be viewed as an opportunity for children to expand developmentally on the already acquired skills gained through early education programs. The children's need for continued exploration of the world around them, through all of the senses, does not diminish because of early experiences. In fact, children's curiosity and energy levels increase through instruction in early childhood programs, and their greater capacities need satisfaction. What a perfect opportunity to teach these young, absorbent minds cognitive skills through the children's natural need for movement. In 1942, Piaget wrote:
- Sensory-motor intelligence lies at the source of thought, and continues to affect it through perceptions and practical sets. The role of perception in the most highly developed thought cannot be neglected, as it is by some writers. (Piaget, 1966, p.119)
Arnheim, Professor of Psychology of Art at Harvard University wrote:
- Artistic activity is a form of reasoning in which perceiving and thinking are indivisibly intertwined. A person who paints, writes, composes, dances...Genuine art work requires organization which involves many and perhaps all of the cognitive operations known from theoretical thinking. (Cited in Lillard, 1972, p.27)
Arnheim contends that genuine art work requires organization which involves many and perhaps all of the cognitive operations known from theoretical thinking. Arnheim does not agree with our educational system which has separated the development of reason and sense perception.
In education the child studies numbers and words; the arts are presented as entertainment and mental release. Arnheim therefore calls for a re-emphasis on perception in the education of the child's mental powers. Arnheim contends that the cognitive operations called thinking are not the privilege of mental processes above and beyond perception, but essential ingredients of perception itself.
Since movement is a natural form of expression for children, dance can expand the learning process. Movement affords the preschool and kindergarten teacher an opportunity to individualize the curriculum in order to enhance the probability of each child developing a positive self-esteem. Within are forms, dance happens to be a vehicle whereby a child can feel a sense of accomplishment in a short period of time.
Final part 3 will be posted on Friday...