A nursery in Lanarkshire has started teaching its pupils dance classes – with a pretty legendary teacher.
Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt is teaching children in Busy Bees nursery in East Kilbride after finding out that more than half of UK parents are concerned about the negative impact of lockdown on their children.
The nursery started the Tiny Dancers initiative found that 73 per cent of parents in Glasgow with children under four are concerned about the lack of time their child has spent playing with peers of their own age.
With an increased amount of time at home, parents fear their children will feel nervous meeting new people and being in big groups.
As the new term begins, parents are concerned that their child will suffer from separation anxiety when starting nursery, with other worries including fears that their child will struggle to make friends, or have difficulties adjusting to a new routine.
Tiny Dancers will be filled with engaging, easy and imaginative dance activities, the programme aims to help children to burn off any nervous energy, have fun, and make new friends in the process – ultimately making the settling in period easier.
Kimberley, a former Pussycat Doll who is also an actress on CBBC’s Almost Never and a judge on Sky 1’s Got to Dance and CBBC’s Taking the Next Step, has created several new dance routines for children to enjoy.
Deena Billings, Early Years expert at Busy Bees, which carried out the study said: “There is no doubt the pandemic has had an impact on the nation’s children, and we understand that there’s an increased need for childcare providers, such as ourselves, to ensure we are supporting their wellbeing.
“For children under five, the opportunity to do this comes in the form of play, and we have a number of programmes at Busy Bees that help to promote wellbeing, including yoga, dance and music games.
“The ‘Tiny Dancers’ initiative will provide yet another tool for us support children as they begin to join our nurseries for the first time, and we’re delighted to make this available to all childcare providers and families in the UK to make use of too.”
Kimberly, who is also an ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust, said: “I’m thrilled to have partnered with Busy Bees to launch the Tiny Dancers programme. Dance is hugely beneficial in getting children moving, laughing and feeling good, which is why it’s the perfect activity to support wellbeing.
“Dance is both universal and inclusive, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it, which is why it’s so fantastic for the early years. It’s also a wonderful tool for exploring imagination and forming connections with others – when everyone’s dancing together and sharing that immersive moment, it helps to build relationships and break the ice, which can sometimes be difficult for young children when meeting new people.”
The change comes as 66 per cent of parents polled said childcare providers and education settings need to have a stronger focus on mental wellbeing moving forwards, with 100 per cent of parents calling for a more flexible curriculum including dance, baking and music, to ensure this happens.
The Tiny Dancers programme is available for all children, parents and nurseries in the UK to access. The initiative forms an extension of Busy Bees’ existing dance and movement programme, Dance with Buzz, which is available to Busy Bees parents and children through its dedicated app ‘Unleashing Potential’.