Expressive Arts Education
for all children
I was impressed from the get-go with Lanie’s creative passion, her deep presence, and her obvious skill in facilitating a group with learners of all types. This is a class my child has asked to sign up for again and again! I highly recommend her classes.
–R.B., mom of a 7 year old
This class is so wonderful. My grandson absolutely loves it. Lanie is so good at what she does. Having her teach me and lead my grandson in his own “dance” and watching him explore new things is so fun. You can tell Lanie loves what she does and seeing her get excited when the kids open up and try new things that they were either afraid or shy doing before is so much fun. My grandson has grown so much from these classes and so have I. — Lauranna Havens
Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to attend this with our children. What an amazing experience. Your soft guidance created such a relaxed, comfortable environment. The children felt safe to dance, move, use the little musical instruments you provided. I (a 63 year old woman) felt safe to get up and participate with my grandson. I look forward to attending more of your classes. –Arlis Holland
Current Class Offerings 2018
In partnership with the St Johns Swapnplay Community we offer Parent and child classes, I Dance, We Dance™
- I Dance, We Dance™ for Swapnplay members only – free ongoing classes are held at the St. Johns Swapnplay
- Current and updated classes: Events Calendar or email email@example.com
- Current offerings, free drop-in classes and much more go to Facebook
- Sign-up to get news on our programs and offerings
Teachers, Parents and Expressive Arts Education — “get comfortable with the process work in expressive arts activities” –click here: Professional Development
Expressive Arts Education
The foundation of our curriculum is the development and integration of the emotional and social self. This is arguably one of the most rapidly growing movements in education today.
Lanie Bergin, Teaching Director — In my research and work with children I find that they receive a variety of stimuli and react on multiple levels. My research in trauma, attachment theory and neuroscience informs how I think about teaching. My experience with expressive arts and being with children (and adults) is relational — always in learning mode as I am curious to hear another’s story.
From our Expressive Arts curriculum: Art is Movement!
The kids enter the space. They are racing around, sliding on the floor.
Ms. Lanie: I’ve always wanted to know why sliding looks like so much fun?
Student: It’s fun because it looks like your going to fall but your not, it’s exciting.
Ms. Lanie: I see that “exciting” makes you smile and laugh.
The kids slide around some more.
Ms. Lanie: Is there anything else about why you like it?
Student: Yeah you can go fast and sometimes you may crash into something, but you try to stop yourself before that happens.
Ms. Lanie: I wouldn’t want to see you crash, then it wouldn’t be so exciting anymore.
Ms. Lanie: So I imagine the part where you have to stop yourself can be “unexpected”?
All: (loudly): Yeah!
Student: I like it because it makes me feel enthusiastic.
Ms. Lanie: Wow. Can you tell more about enthusiastic?
Student: Well I just like what I’m doing, it’s fun.
Ms. Lanie: Well, I think we may have a score to explore.
Student: We can move unexpected.
Ms. Lanie: Yes. We can move unexpected, exciting and enthusiastic.
A student took an imaginary journey inside her body. Here are three panels of action, she shrunk herself down and went into her mouth and like a slide she went down her arm and landed in her hand! As she rested in her hand she realized how tired she was and that it was good to rest in her body.
Once we open up the learning space, children will fill it with meaningful context. Their hands articulate the curriculum.
My pedagogy addresses the whole child
Children operate with what they have and what they are given (congenially/biologically, emotionally, mentally, materially). We know they are operating initially on a sensory level as their cognitive functioning develops. “Whole Child” learning describes when the child’s learning is in alignment with his or her individuality as it develops through inquiry, critical thinking and co-creation.
The environment for this learning takes place in the context of Expressive Arts Education
“Imagining my Imagination” is how the student explains this drawing. The drawing manifested for her after an activity called ‘What is it Like to Listen to your body’. She found out that she could see her heart beating and she says “I saw veins too.”
We talked about ways to take care of yourself and what it looks like? “Resting is a good way to take care of myself, because I get to see how I feel,” she shares while showing her drawing to the class.
Movement is at the center of my research because it most directly reflects the state of integration during childhood development. In an expressive arts class, children carve out a new space. As they circle, bend, roll and zigzag through the room, a new space appears—a space that bridges kinesthetic intelligence and creative expression. Eventually I will guide the children to further layers of embodiment by re-assigning and re-directing them back to their natural and unique rhythm.
Here, children are working with space constraints by exploring gravity. High energy groups practice many skills, such as focus, when move closer to the floor – there is more listening, witnessing, following and leading.
Connecting the dots: Random dots reveal unusual shapes. Pastels on dark paper and working with unplanned events illuminate a child’s mind with possibility.
We use abstraction to open our eyes and bodies to the mystery of our own shapes, and those around us.
“The Monster Pie” dream: children work with a movement score that helps them to make sense of their dreams. Dreams are a primitive source of imagination and a well spring into our unconscious life. We share images and words; we move to them and draw the stories from our dreams.
Working on story elements with clay and writing:
During the academic day kids are not in a setting to release emotional textures, but here they can explore different ways of feeling in relationship to how they work with clay in their hands.
Here, stations are set up for sharing at the end of class so that storytelling can include a ritual of turning academic desks into creative storyboards! Children experience the concept of critical thinking; first by reconstructing the classroom that they use in a traditional academic setting. And by moving freely with purpose (curiosity) to connect in multiple ways; visually, non-verbal, kinetic, socially/relational, and more.
String art – we see single strands of yarn become more complex. -1st grade
Chalk on paper, expression of feelings. A verbal connection begins with a title…..
“My Fast Car” 2nd grade
Teaching Director: Lanie Bergin, M.Ed, Registered Somatic Therapist and Expressive Arts Educator
Lanie offers Expressive Arts Education programs for individual children or small groups in public and private school and learning centers. She collaborates with school counselors, special education teachers and parents to design, implement and facilitate a program that meets the individual needs for child development across all domains. She works with physical, mental and emotional developmental issues; through movement education a child can progress through learning experiences at their own pace and in their own time. Encouragement, empathy and acceptance are important elements that Lanie uses when working with the multiple layers and complexity of how to integrate experiences and learning.
Email us for a schedule of children’s classes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletters and current offerings/events can be found on our Facebook page
For educators, parents or caregivers wanting more information, a consultation and how Movement-based Expressive Arts can help your children please reply: