Teacher Rachael

Moving Hearts: Dancing Towards Love

What Would Rachael Do?

December 30, 2016

I have been fortunate enough to be working at a private preschool in the west village for three years as the Toddler Head Teacher. Besides studying dance/movement therapy, I also have my bachelors in Child Adolescent Development. This major allows for one to work in an Early Childhood Education center (also known as a preschool). Before working at the preschool that I am at now, I started my teaching career at the school where I received my bachelors, San Francisco State University in 2007. While I was in school, I worked at the preschool for the students and professors children. I began as a teachers assistant in all classrooms with children of different ages from 6 months to 5 years. Then once I found my niche, I stayed in the 3-5 year old classroom for a couple of years and moved up to being an Acting Head Teacher, which meant I had all of the responsibilities of the Head Teacher but it was only for one summer. While I was there, I learned from many different Head teachers as well as from my Early Child Development classes about different ways of talking and being with children. I learned how to phrase things like, “It looks like you’re angry. Let’s talk about it and use our words.” I learned how to work alongside my co-workers and to work under the Head teachers and experienced both challenging moments as well as great ones that always left me with the warm feeling in my heart that this is where I want to be for the rest of my life-with children.

After working there for five years, I was ready for a change. When I moved to New York city and graduated from my masters with dance/movement therapy, I decided to combine my two passions: my love for children and Dance by working at the preschool and starting my own business. During my first year of teaching at the West Village preschool, Buckle My Shoe, one of the parents used to come to me for advice for their children at home. They had a difficult time getting their two year old daughter to listen to them and to remember that she is only two years old. I recommended helpful books and articles and strategies of connecting to her during the tantrum before getting angry with her, and then once she calmed down, is when you can talk about what happened.

Well, the very last day of school, her parents came up to me and said, “Rachael we have a saying at home that we use often when we’re having a tough time with our kids. It’s What Would Rachael Do?” When we think about this, we remember to get down to our child’s level, to breathe and to stay calm, and then go from there. It really helps and we just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Holy shit! This blew me away and made me feel like wow, I really do have an impact on people and not only am helping them at school but am helping them at home when I’m not even there! This was the reason I wanted to start this blog, which was inspired by those parents  in that I am here to help and share my knowledge, expertise, and experiences with other parents, teachers, colleagues, friends, and family. Please feel free to take what you would like from this and know I am always still learning and growing as a teacher, as a therapist, and as a human being.  I am doing my best to be here to help children and families be the best they can be by starting with the most important thing there is: Love.

With love and positivity,

Rachael Anne Singer

Moving HeARTS, LLC

http://www.movingheartsrachaelsinger.com

Advertisements

Dancing Towards Love

“When working with young children, dance/movement allows for an environment that is simultaneously structured and freeing” (Integrating Expressive Arts and Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents, 2014).

As we know, children are incredible and have their own way of thinking and being in the world. They use their senses to experience the world around them and are looking to us, the adults, for the answers. In their everyday lives, they are receiving guidance to stay safe and do what they need to do to survive and thrive. Children need both structure and freedom. Structure provides children with boundaries to help them feel safe, secure, and supported. While, they also need freedom to think, feel, and be how they are in order to develop a solid sense of who they are.

We as human beings are complex and have a body that navigates our day to day interactions. Yet, we are not as connected as we used to be. As much as we try, our phones and busy lives keep us detached from our bodies. In many spiritual teachings, the body-mind connection is found to be extremely important to our health. Being present in the moment, focusing on our breath, and listening to our body, is the ultimate goal for many of us. However, it is challenging to stop and do this while we have to go to work, pick our kids up from school, take them to school, pay rent, clean our homes, and so on and so forth.

The big question is: How do we make time to be present in our bodies, present with our children, and teach our children to be present with themselves?
Dance and movement is a fun, easy, and can be a free way to do exactly this. We may think of dance as a structured activity with choreographed movements, ballet slippers and a tutu. Although this is a great activity for children who love dance, this is not the only way. Children are very capable of meditating, breathing, and being in their own bodies. Yet, like many things, they need to experience it to learn it.

Have you ever turned the music on at home and have an unscheduled dance party with your child(ren) or spouse or lets face it, just you? This is a perfect, easy, and fun way to get into our bodies, let loose, and connect to yourself and to your child. By dancing freely and creatively, you are allowing your body to relax, unwind, and literally move things around in your system. We hold our tension and stress inside our shoulders, necks, bones, cells, and everywhere in between.

Dancing, breathing, stretching, and shaking out to any music, helps relieve stress and calm the nervous system. Not only is this beneficial for you, but it is highly beneficial for your child. Dance helps children self-regulate, express their feelings, and get into touch with their bodies.

By dancing with your child, you are able to connect to them on an equal level, letting them know you are on their side and that you see them for who they are. In addition, they get to see you relaxed and having fun, which puts them at ease.

I invite you to try, once a week, putting any music on, whether it be Katy Perry or the Beatles, and dance freely with your child. You can wiggle every part of you, copy your child’s movements, and dance crazy together! Dancing is more than having fun, it is a way of letting go and of being in touch with your body. It allows your mind and body to connect, release, and integrate both sides of the brain. Give this to yourself and to your family.

Dance towards love! If anything, I can assure you, you’ll have fun, and let’s face it, we all need more fun in our lives!
Love and positivity,
Rachael Singer, BA Child Adolescent Development, MS Dance/Movement Psychotherapy, Toddler Head teacher at Buckle My Shoe

Articles on Dance/Movement
http://www.livestrong.com/article/214791-the-benefits-of-dance-for-kids/
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/23/463222589/dance-returns-the-joy-of-movement-to-people-with-parkinsons
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mexico-ballet-for-the-blind_us_57c1c644e4b04193420f6ae6