You hear a lot these days about social-emotional development in children, especially how important it is for building empathy and meaningful relationships. Social-emotional skills equip our kids with the tools they need to manage their emotions, make friends, and connect to other people on a deeper level. It’s a crucial foundation to their whole health—and a challenge in today’s world of virtual classrooms and masks!

But it’s a challenge that can still be met, particularly here at Boca Dance Studio. A dancer’s learning environment plays a key role in this growth; it gives them an opportunity to build confidence in these skills while simultaneously building their physical skills. Their hearts, minds, and bodies are literally working together.

Here are just a few highlights of how we’re helping your children with their social-emotional building blocks:

Working together as a team. Although we now physically distanced (and sometimes completely distanced, via remote learning) teamwork is still a key part of the class experience. For example, with our younger dancers, we emphasize taking turns and cheering each other on. With our more experienced dancers, rhythmic timing and transitions depend heavily on cues from each other. All of our dancers are learning to respect their peers, and to appreciate everyone’s contribution to the energy in the room, whether it’s a physical room or a virtual one!

Using eye contact and hand gestures. With masks in place, eye contact has become an integral part of making social-emotional connections. Psychology tells us that we relate better and form more meaningful conversations when we make eye contact with others, and it’s as true in dance as it is anywhere else! Our “conversations” may be more movement-based, but our moments of eye contact are equally necessary. Hand gestures, too, support those connections—almost like having a secret dance class language! Whether they realize it or not, our dancers are building empathy through these small efforts.

Offering an outlet of creative expression. Managing emotions can be tough at any age, at any time, but for our kids during a pandemic, it can be extra difficult. Dance class has proven to be a beneficial place to channel stress, anxiety, or sadness—as well as joy and happiness! Instead of keeping their feelings bottled up, our dancers can express themselves through both technique and creative movement. Dance gives them a healthy way to let their emotions out, even—or especially—if they don’t feel like talking.

Social-emotional skills are an essential part of growing up, whether your child is four or fourteen. Dance has a way of helping all our dancers feel like they belong, and that they share a common bond with their peers. We’re proud that Boca Dance Studio can give them the chance to develop these skills in a safe, encouraging space.

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