Dance is an art-form to lead by example. Through Dance, we share our past history and ideas for the future. Dance can help us heal and connect with others. Creating and teaching dance allows us to connect with ourselves, our heritage, our culture and create valuable relationships.
We at Dance Stables, are privileged to connect with many children and families through dance and the arts. We strive to create a nurturing and supportive space of equal opportunity for your children. We as educators, teamed up with our supportive DS parents and schools, have a responsibility to teach the future generations about the importance of love, equality, freedom and self-identity. We can’t think a better time than now, when the whole world is taking time to reflect and absorb crucial information, to share our ethos and perspective of Dance in Education, in regards to race and cultural identity.
It starts from home
While preparing our children for the outside world, it is essential to have open discussions about race and differences they will encounter. We are all born with similarities and differences, and we should celebrate these beautiful aspects about ourselves and others. Allow children to notice and accept differentiation and individuality, starting with themselves and then others. This in turn feeds into the dance class, where we encourage children to be proud of the things that make them individual and to share these with their peers.
“Share our similarities, celebrate our differences”
Diverse friendship circles
Toddlers at nursery will naturally create friendships having one thing in common : PLAY TIME! Setting the example from home, to create friendships based on the similar interests rather than by race, shapes and looks is really important. Help your children to identify the qualities of a good friend and encourage your child to look for these qualities. This will educate them to always make a conscious decision when it comes to relationships, social interactions and group work. At Dance Stables we are very inclusive, with lots of diversity amongst our children, and strongly believe that everyone should and can have the opportunity to dance. Everyone is always welcome!
In the process of growing up, children are curious about literally EVERYTHING . Questions are asked with no “filter” I.e. without emotional connection, when it comes to a subject that they are not familiar with. This is a great opportunity to allow open discussions and address misconceptions around an idea. For example, “We are all humans and we are the same , however the world can treat some people differently, due to their background and skin colour. This can make things harder for them, bring about unjust challenges and this is wrong. What can we do to change this? What would you say if you saw/heard something that you thinks wrong?” This is a vital conversation to have with our children and aim not adopt a "colourblind" mentality.
And next, one of the most important qualities that can be built in a school, dance class and home - is allowing your children to create their own voice and clear sense of identity, as well as an ability to speak up against injustice.
Be part of the solution
There is nothing more powerful than standing up for what is right. We can teach our children to speak up against injustice and that actions speak louder than words. It’s important when an incident of injustice happens, children are able to respond appropriately and with a clear moral understanding. Children have strong, natural reactions to the feeling of injustice, often hearing the quote “ ITS NOT FAIR!” It is important not to dismiss any of these feelings, avoiding responses like, “it is what it is and it’s been like that for long time” or “you will understand when you grow up”. Instead, we must try to explain these situations of injustice to our children and take the time to listen to how this experience felt for them. Importantly, children must receive the guidance of what to say to allow them to always stand up for what is right.
How to teach your child to speak up.
1. Listen to why they think it is unfair.
2. Tell them what the other persons perspective is.
3. Give them an opportunity to voice confusion.
4. Show them how to articulate a supportive opinion.
Teach them History
Racism has existed throughout history and unfortunately until this day equality has not been restored. The events of the past can make us uncomfortable, yet it is important to have a full understanding of how and why things are the way they are. These may be experiences that you have lived through personally, or an opportunity for compassion and understanding for others. We can only grow and evolve by using the wrongs and highlights in History to be, do and act better. It is our duty to humanity to raise children that will love and respect one another.
See our blog “Resources to celebrate and learn about Black Culture” for ideas and literature to help support this teaching, broaden understanding and your family discussions.
Stay safe and sending our DS Love.❤️