- Teach basic ballroom dance skills and rhythmic coordination.
- Teach good posture and balance.
- Provide nutrition education
- Promote physical activity
- Improve self-esteem/image
- Provide Health Promotion Strategies.
- Have Fun, Fun, and Fun!!!
Utilizing evidence based research in fitness, nutrition and motivation, the Dance4 Health Educational Model implements a creative interventional strategy of teaching ballroom dancing as a means of promoting physical activity and healthy eating habits in children and families.
During the past 6 years, Dance 4 Health cooperated with the San Jose East Valley YMCA and the After-School All-Stars to provide classes in 9 elementary and 2 middle school after school sites. Classes occurred two times per week for one hour for a term of 6 weeks to 27 weeks. The guiding principles of the cornerstone project and the program quality & assessment tool as prepared by the Lucille Packard Foundation for children’s health are used as assessment tools.
During the past 6 years, Dance 4 Health achieved the following benchmarks.
• Targeted specific subgroup of youth: Dance4 Health targeted a high risk Latin American preteen group in East San Jose that is statistically prone to diabetes and obesity.
• Supportive relationships: Positive relationships with adults and peers were developed and enhanced. We identified a need for more time and sustainability for the youth and adults to interact.
• Promoting Resiliency: Research supports that resilience among youth is best facilitated by supportive adult relationships, the key to positive outcomes for youth. The Dance4 Health Model demonstrates this benchmark consistently. The collaboration of dance teacher, after school staff members, and parents has been targeted and fulfilled in this program.
• Staff training: We provided staff training to the YMCA’s after school staff in regards to the health nutrition component of Dance4 Health. We designed a nutritional curriculum for mentoring by the after school staff as a means of educating them along with the children.
• Variety: Dance4 Health provided a program that focused on many elements; dance, fitness, nutrition, health, and motivation. We provided a connected weekly curriculum of dance, fitness, nutrition and motivation. We utilized music and rhythms, social influences such as Dancing with the Stars, as well as international cultural content.
• Cultural competence: although English was the primary language used by the after school staff, they were able to respond to the language needs of the participants. This was most helpful during educational family nights. Dance4 Health provided an instructor who is Latina and Spanish-speaking.
• Cross site learning / balanced strategy of school and community based programs: Dance4 Health implemented and provided programs to reach parents, after school staff members and the community. We participation in: 10,000 steps Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA, April 2006, Dancing with the Staff Performance Night, May 2006, Dance4 Health Children’s Performance Family night June 2006, Taking Care of Your Diabetes Program at the Santa Clara Valley Convention in October, 2006 & September 2007, the Dance4 Health Team Match / Joint Family Educational Night March 23, 2007, a field trip was held on April 28, 2007 for all the participants in the Dance 4 Health Team Match to a local dance studio for a dance workshop, Dance 4 Health students performed at a Christmas party at Dance Spectrum, a dance studio in Campbell, CA, Family Night for Montgomery elementary at the East Valley YMCA April 12, 2008 and Competition at the Cardinal Classic Dance Competition April 2008 & 2009, San Jose Neighbor Arts Program 2008/2009, Fanimacon May 2012, Mentorship Program 2006 to present.
• Evaluation and Assessment: We internally assessed our success by written and/or oral examination, attendance and participation. The average score of the student’s knowledge of the subject matter averaged 80% or better. At the Dance 4 Health Team Match /Family Night, over 250 family members and participating children attended. Over 60 family members/friends supported the 15 dancers from Hoover Middle School that performed at Dance Spectrum. Eighty-Eight percent of the students at Montgomery and Ryan Elementary School participated at the Cardinal Classic Dance Competition.