A Letter from the Honorary Chair of out Educational Advisory Board:
As the Honorary Chair of the Educational Advisory Board for the Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet, LLC, I am pleased that you are considering our En Pointe Residency Program for your school.
Access to well-rounded curricula should be the goal of all education systems. Teaching the whole child is the only way I know to teach. Each child has unique needs and strengths, interests and passions. Each child is a complex system and deserves access to curricula in school that challenge all aspects of their being. A well-rounded education includes opportunities to practice and improve upon literacy, mathematics, science, visual art, physical education, and creative movement and drama. The Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet’s public school outreach program, En Pointe, presents an outstanding opportunity to utilize creative dance to enhance the well-rounded education of the whole child.
The benefits of creative dance extend well beyond more obvious physical and artistic benefits. Clearly, participating in creative dance helps students develop strong, healthy bodies, providing physical exercise and increased fine and gross motor coordination. The benefits of the artistic elements are also clear – the expression of emotion and thought through movement engages different aspects of the brain than more traditional methods of communication such as speech and writing. When looking at this program’s efficacy in public schools, I envision more than these essential benefits detailed above.
En Pointe’s curriculum addresses broader lifelong skills such as perseverance, collaboration, communication, innovation, and creativity. These skills are widely seen as equally important to literacy and mathematics skills. The youngest learners in our education system must be given access to creative dance in order to fully develop these skills and maximize the benefits over their academic lives. Engaging and connecting with others in an activity that challenges the brain, the body, and the spirit simultaneously develops self-regulation and self-esteem. Self-regulation is essential to long-term success in school and in life. The self-regulated child performs better in school behaviorally and, subsequently, academically. True self-esteem development increases students’ sense of efficacy and therefore their academic performance.
A dynamic program such as En Pointe supplements Common Core State Standards and provides essential skill development. As a classroom educator, I would be thrilled to have access to such a program in my school.