Social Competence

A study conducted at George Mason University found that participation in a twice-weekly creative dance class improved social competence in a group of preschoolers enrolled in a Head Start program. Compared to a control group, which engaged in non-dance learning and play activities, surveys filled out by teachers and parents revealed that the social intelligence of the dancing group improved drastically while their behavioral issues became less prevalent. Click here to read the article!

“The present study provides strong scientific support for the utility of dance, music and creative movement programs in early childhood. Children who participated in the twice-a-week, eight-week dance program made both significant gains in their social skills and significant reductions in their behavior problems over the course of the program, whereas the children not exposed to the dance program did not show much improvement.”

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the idea that interactive music and dance lessons help to develop social skills in young children. (Ask anyone in the Blooming Bébé community!) This study is important because it provides data that actually quantifies the improved social skills of children after only eight weeks of dancing.  

“Social competence and effective behavioral control are vital elements for children’s school readiness and adjustment to elementary school, as well as their later peer interaction and both academic and personal success.”

There remain questions for future researches to address, including how dance training affects social abilities so distinctly from traditional classroom education and non-creative physical activity.

“Creative dance/movement lessons may have provided the children with additional means of expression, using their bodies to communicate their ideas, thoughts, emotions and feelings.”

We are looking forward to further research that explores the connection between dance and social competence. We also agree wholeheartedly with the author that dancing should be a staple of early childhood education!


Lobo, Yovanka; Winsler, Adam. (August 2006). The Effects of a Creative Dance and Movement Program on the Social Competence of Head Start Preschoolers