Based in New York City, Dancing Classrooms is a very special, innovative and distinctively effective "social and emotional learning" (SEL) non-profit that achieves in 10 weeks (20 sessions) through a proprietary ballroom dance curriculum what most SEL programs take a few years to accomplish. Working with upper elementary and middle school students in the US and internationally, Dancing Classrooms transforms previously disaffected girls and boys into mature, self-reliant, highly motivated, elegant young ladies and gentlemen who are successful team players. Where school leadership adopts the Dancing Classrooms philosophy and methodology, entire school cultures are often remade, again in a surprisingly short period of time, into supportive, learning-enhancing environments based on mutual respect, courtesy, and cross-cultural understanding. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Dancing Classrooms currently serves more than 42,000 students each year in over 30 cities or regions.
“Dancing is about connections–to our friends, to our families, to our neighbors. It is one of the most expressive ways we celebrate and communicate our cultures and communities. With Dancing Classrooms, we are able to reach children in existing classroom settings and address fundamental issues of mutual respect and self-esteem – issues that social dance puts into practice. We hope to inspire children through dance to do well, to respect one another, to be proud. This program is about more than dance, it is about teaching children to take a bow.”
Toni Walker passionately talks about the impact Dancing Classrooms had on her fifth grade students and challenges her fellow principals to give the program a try. Watch: Dancing Principals Special Edition - Toni Walker, Lehigh Elementary, Lee County, FL
Dr. Lois Habtes relates the effect Dancing Classrooms had on her fifth graders’ test scores and academic performance and provides some of the data to support that claim. Watch: Dancing Principals Special Edition - Dr. Lois Habtes, E. Benjamin Oliver School, St. Thomas, VI
JOHN WILSON UNLEASHED...on DANCING CLASSROOMS
John Wilson, Head of the National Education Association and senior fellow at the Pearson Foundation, highlighted the impact and value of Dancing Classrooms in his February 2013 Edweek blog entry.
We all hear about great educational programs in a few school districts, and we wish that these were available to all students in every district. When you see the faces of students who are participating in excellent programs and you grasp the impact that these programs have, you just want to shout from the rooftop, "Do whatever it takes to give every student this gift of educational excellence!" That is the way I felt last week when I attended a benefit for Dancing Classrooms in New York City.
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