I play music when I’m setting up activities for our learning lab. I’m a dancer, and I love feeling like I’m about to be at a party. I blast a particular playlist, depending on my mood, or what the munchkins are requesting. I pretend that I am a real DJ, setting the scene for our learning lab adventure. I imagine strobe lights and other partygoers. I get really hype, and my kids get free inside their bodies too. We are always ready for some good shaking, twisting, shimmying, twirling, running, leaping, and rolling around to loud, heart-pulsing music.
In my pre-mommy life, I was known to be the life of the party. If everyone else was a wallflower, I was in the middle of the dance floor, giving the DJ love, encouraging others to join in, one by one. I was always down to get the party started. And sometimes, if there was no one else to join in, that was fine with me too. I enjoy a spacious dance floor, the more room for me to move and groove and do my thang. That deeply satisfying feeling of expanding in the dance, of sharing the good vibes with others, of riding the waves of soul-stirring beats, it translates even now in my dreams for our family-centered learning journeys.
One day while cutting out letter squares for a game the munchkins like to play called “Alphabet Run,” I started playing Bloom’s favorite song. When his song is on he hops to the dance floor, which in our home studio is just the main part of the house. His brother and sister quickly join in and in a matter of seconds they are a lively dancing trio. This movement interlude gives me time to cut the paper, write all the letters down, and tape them up all over the walls. While I’m working, I’m dancing too. I’m getting into the spirit, as they eagerly anticipate the start of the game where they’ll get to run around and search for whatever letter I call out. I realize in that moment, that I’m enjoying this process because it feels like I’m getting ready for a party. It feels familiar in an exciting way, and connects me to that woman I used to be before my name became Mommy.
Learning flows more naturally when there is organic enthusiasm at play. And I have more energy for holding the space for the munchkins’ learning when I’m feeling good, and this is most readily accessed for me through dancing. I thought, why don’t I open up our days like this all the time? A dance jam to smooth out the transitions from breakfast to play time to whatever activity we’re doing—it just works. It keeps the momentum flowing. It gives everyone the freedom to do what they want to do in the space. They can dance, run around, find a toy, make up a game with each other, flip through a book, help me post things on the wall. There is a levity the music brings. There is a warming of the space the movement fosters, allowing for more and more positive and meaningful learning moments to be shared.