The way we walk in the world says a lot about who we are
. Whether your walk is springy, shuffling, or swaggering, it is a statement. Some walk gently on tiptoe, others pound the pavement with splayed feet… but when working with children, teaching them to walk correctly and with confidence will help them move forward.
To work with walking in a class setting, begin by having everyone walk normally, in any direction they choose. Have students begin to notice their own walking styles. Do they move slowly or quickly? Heel first or toe first? What happens with their arms as they walk?
Next, try playing with some exaggerated walks. Walk slowly and carefully, placing the heel first, then rolling through the foot to complete each step. Kids can walk like different animals, such as ducks, horses, or frogs. Try taking huge steps with the arms swinging, and then contrast that and take tiny tiptoe steps. Walk very quickly, then very slowly.
Finally, encourage students to come up with their own variations, each person taking a turn at leading. Walk like an Egyptian, walk backwards, or try a kicking walk. Who knows what other funny interpretations might arise.
Walking is one of the first skills we develop, and one of the best forms of exercise. It’s also a whole lot of fun to explore the many different ways it can be done.
It has been said more than once that great teachers are continuously in the process of learning. After all, it is only by evolving our knowledge that we will have things to share with students, and the way to come up with new ideas is to experiment. In other words, we have to walk the walk first to be able to demonstrate it later.
This means that if we are looking to share dance and movement exercises with children, the best place to begin is with ourselves. First, set the intention to incorporate movement experiments and play into your day to day routine, and then be sure to set aside time and space to enjoy and explore. The fact that you are simultaneously learning and doing something good for your body is a huge bonus.
Inspiring music that speaks to your heart and a little bit of floor room are the only required ingredients. It can be helpful to have a wall mirror to evaluate what you are doing from time to time, to see which shapes and movements work better together. Seeing your movements helps with remembering later on.
The best teachers are enthusiastic about their material, evolving dynamically in their own quest for ideas and inspiration. Setting aside some time for playful experimentation is a rich source of value for you as a teacher and for every student you meet along your path.
Please be sure to visit the next blog in this weeks blog chain: http://www.terri-forehand.blogspot.com/