New Highland Academy is the first public elementary school in the state of California to have articulated, year-long, standards-based dance curriculum for EVERY child. Learn more about this Oakland Unified School District dance miracle!
Luna’s special needs inquiry team asked “what does creativity look like for children with autism and other special needs?” Five years at Tilden Elementary, a designated inclusion school in Oakland, California, revealed a great deal about bringing standards-based dance to children with and without special needs.
As a national leader in arts education, Luna has been sharing the most current practices of teaching dance to children of all abilities, as well as Universal Design for Learning principles, to teachers and dance educators for more than a decade. Currently, under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, we are bringing these best practices to the forefront of our work through comprehensive professional development. Our PL services and Model programs work in tandem to generate thoughtful approaches to classroom techniques and teaching strategies to improve student performance. Teaching artists, classroom teachers and para-professionals partner together to support student learning in advanced dance concepts using an inquiry approach that continues to “push the envelope” of what creativity might look like in inclusive dance settings. This year we are working with ten classrooms at Grass Valley Elementary School, Oakland Unified School District and with inclusion early childhood classes at Acorn-Woodland. The classroom teachers and para-professionals receive active coaching to keep dance alive in the school setting, as well as integrate arts curriculum as makes sense in the classroom. What we learn from our practice supports the theory and approaches shared in our PL offerings–workshops, lesson studies, and consultations. In fall of this year we held the 5th annual Dance & Disability panel of local professionals who continue to expand access to dance. Read about the questions & issues they are asking today. Read MORE about Luna’s work with children with special needs in the Tilden Case Study.