Research

Overview

Evidence based practice, research and providing movement education of the highest quality are the inter-related goals of Movementworks® and Developmental Dance Movement™ (DDM).

Through a dedicated research objective we are able to: -

  • Disseminate the impact of our interventions: DDM, a specifically designed and structured dance movement programme focusing on early years development, in particular in the areas of cognitive development and school-readiness; and AMT, a specifically designed and structured dance movement intervention for individuals on the autistic spectrum, focusing on improving function in areas of deficit known to affect those with a diagnosis of ASD.
  • Provide empirical quality outcomes that are repeatable.
  • Integrate the evidence with expertise, providing excellence in the delivery of Developmental Dance Movement education.
  • Promote best practice and support the continuing professional development of early years practitioners and mainstream and special education teachers.

Our research involves rigorous scientific enquiry using disciplined methods and as such we have contributed to conferences and journals subject to peer review across various relevant disciplines; Dance, Occupational Therapy, Art Therapy, Behavioural Sciences and Special Education.

 Examples -

Golding, A & Boes, C. 2016.  The Efficacy of Developmental Dance Movement as therapeutic Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other learning disabilities.
  British Association of Art Therapy.

Boes, C. & Golding, A. 2015.  Evaluation of the efficacy of the Developmental Dance Movement Programme as OT intervention for children with Autism.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy.

DDM: The Underlying Theory and Philosophy

Developmental Dance Movement has a sound theoretical underpinning.

  • Numerous cases are made for the important part movement plays in cognitive development. Yet there is a lack of hard evidence underlying the beliefs or substantial links to educational theory (Davies, 1995).
  • DDM is underpinned by neuroscientific research pertaining to the mind-body relationship and neurophysical perspectives. Physical experiences are carefully crafted to maximize positive impact upon brain plasticity, development and function. Contributing factors include consideration of the following; increasing levels of neurotransmitters, complex movement patterns that promote cerebral connectivity and those that appropriately stimulate the visual, vestibular and proprioceptive senses likely to reduce deficits and barriers to learning.
  • DDM is additionally informed by established educational theory. We aim to optimise abilities, strengths and interests through harnessing aspects of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, Accelerated Learning Theory (AL) and Montessori pedagogy. DDM embraces the phenomenon of multi-level processing and provides a multi-faceted pathway for learning, facilitating opportunities for growth for all children.
  • Cross-curricular learning.  Activities are designed to maximise synthesised understanding and the ‘enactment’ of moving helps anchor learning physically.  This multi-level processing has benefits to both conceptual learning and the development of language and communication.
  • DDM is a genuine model of inclusion.  We regularly work and present research with MEfA (Montessori Education for Autism).
  • MovementWorks utilises the following scientific pedagogies and blueprints for systematic observation:
    • Montessori Observational Practice
    • Laban Movement Analysis (LMA)
    • Neurophysical Psychology Models

MovementWorks aims to further develop the area of dance science research. A second wave of research evidence from a year-long in-school programme is being collated.

New Research Collaboration

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Greenwich University
We are delighted to have formed an exciting new partnership with the Faculty of Education & Health at Greenwich University.  Together, we are conducting a pilot evaluation of Developmental Dance Movement (DDM) and Autism Movement Therapy (AMT) for Primary School Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in conjunction with Brent Knoll School.  

Parents, dance therapists and teachers are participating in the study as well as students.  This is a very exciting partnership, involving building a research community for long-term, in-depth evaluation of the efficacy of the programmes.

Dr Christina Malamateniou is the Research Lead in the Department of Family Care & Mental Health at the Faculty of Education and Health at Greenwich University.

Latest Research

 

Investigating learning through developmental dance movement as a kinaesthetic tool in the Early Years Foundation Stage

The understanding of the significance of movement to learning benefits from advances in neuroscience. This study considered this perspective in relation to the educational theories of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983) and Accelerated Learning for which little empirical evidence exists.

Read the abstract