artsNK’s dance team is currently working with four primary schools within North Kesteven to deliver a new project encouraging children to increase their physical activity and become healthier. The Dance Fit project uses dance as the medium to explore healthy lifestyles and diet, increasing activity levels and boosting wellbeing. The project addresses the National Obesity agenda and works in line with North Kesteven District Council’s Physical Activity Strategy and National Obesity pilot with Leeds Beckett University.
Through a weekly programme dance artists deliver various fun dance styles, creative tasks, partner work, and cardiovascular exercises all with a view to increasing fitness and boosting self-esteem. Families, parents & carers are invited to take part, with log books issued to diary progress and their individual journeys of change. The children taking part also enjoy the additional benefits of social interaction, new friendships made and importantly lots of fun. At the end of the project at each school we will signpost outwards to numerous supporting activities/projects or initiatives for children to progress to.
One of the initial schools to take part is Washingborough Academy. We spoke to class teacher Kelly Robinson about the benefits of the Dance Fit programme to pupils at the school:
“The programme so far has been fantastic as I have been amazed at the results which I have seen since it began. Nearly all the children’s flexibility has already increased (after a term) and the children are so enthusiastic about coming to the lesson. The skills they are using have developed so much also- at the beginning of the term they couldn’t hold the plank position for longer than 30 seconds and now they are able to do so at greater length. Additionally, children’s timing and rhythm has significantly improved; they are much more in time with the music and can now keep in time with the movements which are taught.”
“Overall, the children love the lesson! They love wearing the fitbits and tracking their steps and heart rate and there is always such a buzz around the room whilst the session is on.”
The delivery of the lessons is particularly engaging. Emily (Sutton) from artsNK has already built up a lovely rapport with the children and they respond to her in such a positive way. She makes the children have such fun whilst working out that they don’t even realise how much exercise they are doing!