These resources can help you to be an inclusive dance teacher so all kids can participate in dance, regardless of ability. You can find information including tips and strategies on how to modify your lesson content and teaching style, to work with all children. There are many simple changes that teachers can make to enable inclusion which will greatly improve the experience for all children and their families and the whole community.
Inclusive teachers provide all community members equal access and opportunities to be involved, removing barriers to participation and valuing all individuals so everyone can lead full lives. Providing genuine opportunities for ongoing inclusion is important. Some children may join a class for a term or a year but then begin to notice that are not progressing at the same pace as their peers and drop out. To enable genuine inclusion dance schools need to welcome a diverse range of students so a child with a disability doesn’t feel that they are the only one needing extra help.
Children with disabilities and developmental challenges might include those who have limitations in mobility (such as difficulty or inability to walk), the way they think or behave (e.g. intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, behavioural/emotional disorders), and sensory difficulties (e.g. vision/hearing). Some disabilities will be visible, for example, if a child uses a wheelchair, and some will not be obvious.
Finding out who the kids are you teach, and why they are coming to learn dance is an important first step for any teacher. This is an ideal opportunity to find out whether any children might have a disability or developmental challenge before you start teaching them. The “About Me” Medical form can also be completed by the child’s parents and doctor before the term of classes begins. This will help you understand any adaptions that might be needed to create a safe environment and inclusive learning approach for all kids in the dance class.
Also be aware that some parents may not wish to disclose that their child has a disability. This is fine. If you notice a child is having some challenges, you can discuss this with their parents. Communicate what you have observed with sensitivity, focusing on the child’s strengths as well as challenges. Seek the parents’ advice and guidance about the best way to assist and encourage their child. If you notice a child finds a particular movement difficult, you can ask also ask the child about the best way for them to perform the action.
You can learn about specific types of disabilities and how to get the most out of the kids in your classes by adapting your program and teaching style.
Or click on one of the disabilities below to find out more.
You might see children in your class experiencing different kinds of challenges. These might be challenges following instruction or performing dance movements. You can read more about these common areas of challenges for kids and find tips and resources to help you modify the content of you classes and teaching style to include everyone.
Or click on one of the areas below to find out more.
Watch these short videos to give you ideas for how to be inclusive in your dance classes.
Dance Stories can be used to help kids participate in dance classes
AllPlay About Me – Medical Summary
Parent Handout: The importance of sport and dance for children with disabilities
Handout: Helping overcome barriers for children with disabilities to participate in dance