Impact of dance classes on pre-school female children's development

Hannah Morgan

Supervisor: Dr Kay Asquith

Course: MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology

The aim of this project was to explore the impact of dance classes on children’s development, particularly in terms of  body-awareness and self-concept/esteem. A group of ten girls attending regular dance classes were compared against a ten girls who did not attend dance classes, for co-ordination and motor skills using a shortened version of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC; Henderson & Sugden, 1992).

A 30-minute dance/movement class was devised incorporating all 16 items of the MABC in a fun and age-appropriate way. Self-concept and self-esteem were measured using the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Children measures (Harter & Pike, 1982). Body-awareness was measured using an adapted version of the Draw-A-Person Test (Machover, 1949).

Six researchers scored the children during the dance/movement class; analysis of scores on all of the measures showed that the dance-experienced group of girls scored better on most of the measures. However, the dance-experienced girls were significantly older than the comparison group which became a confounding factor.

Interestingly, when analysing the Draw-A-Person drawings, it was clear that the dance-experienced girls included more body parts in their drawings, such as fingers and toes.