In my last blog post, I wrote about how TU is supporting education across Maryland. I highlighted three partnerships that are advancing education in a variety of ways.
For this post, the second in my ongoing partnership series, I wanted to delve deeper into another partnership that is providing education in a unique way by combining the arts with science.
Moving to Learn: Growing Up Great with Dance and Environmental Science
Moving to Learn: Growing Up Great with Dance and Environmental Science integrates developmentally appropriate dance methodologies with key concepts in pre-K standards in environmental science that improve school readiness and science proficiency in children aged 2 through 5. The curriculum was designed by the Towson University Department of Dance’s PreK-12 Dance Education Concentration co-director, Jaye Knutson, using concepts that are part of the Maryland public school curricula. Led by certified dance instructors and interns from TU’s dance education department, the instructors use dance and movement to help children investigate the Earth’s resources and to recognize the cause and effect relationship.
I spoke with Jaye about the program to learn more about its impacts on TU and the community.
1. How did the Moving to Learn program begin?
Moving to Learn is an outgrowth of the Moving America: Maryland (MA:MD) program I initiated in 1998 with support from a Arts Education Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The dance integration featured in-class professional development to public school K-8th grade teachers. Moving to Learn employs the MA:MD approach for preschoolers.
2. Why do you think this partnership matters to TU and to the community?
Towson University is highly respected for its arts and teacher preparation programs. The Moving to Learn program marries these two programs together for the benefit of parents, families & children. It is a continuance of Towson’s commitment to innovation in teacher and leader preparation, embraces experiential learning opportunities for Towson students and applies current & best practices research to ensure that high-risk youngsters get the support they need to excel academically. This is good for Towson University in that our students are not just thinking theoretically or abstractly about how the arts enhance teaching and learning; but they are actually experiencing & witnessing the impact. The community benefits in that families & children get the help they need to improve their lives.
3. What are the most significant outcomes of your partnership?
Moving to Learn exemplifies the positive impact that the arts have on the learning of young children. By uniting multiple arts and education partners, we are able to provide opportunities for many groups of children. The impacts of Moving to Learn include:
- Advancing the school readiness of underprivileged preschoolers;
- Enhancing the teacher preparation of the PreK-12 Dance Education students;
- Improving parents’ and caregivers’ knowledge of how to enhance youngsters learning at home; and
- Broadening Port Discovery’s client base through an arts-based partnership.
4. How are students involved in the Moving to Learn program?
TU students work with instructors to plan the curriculum and instruction, provide programming assistance, and assess the impacts and outcomes of the program.
5. What do you personally find most valuable about participating in this partnership?
I found the synthesis of multiple resources towards the enrichment of learning for preschoolers enormously valuable. While any one of the resources adds value, the combined efforts achieve great holistic and community value.