The Important Connection Between Movement & Literacy in Preschoolers

Alexia Buono published a peer-reviewed research article in the international journal, Research in Dance Education, that identifies somatic movement literacy and its impact on preschoolers.

What is somatic movement literacy, and what does it have to do with preschoolers? Alexia Buono investigated these questions in her qualitative research and has published a peer-reviewed article in Research in Dance Education.

Prior to this publication, Buono had presented on the topic of fostering somatic movement literacy with young children at the joint conference of ISMETA and NDEO (International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association; National Dance Education Organization) summer 2019. She would have presented this topic at the Future(s) of Dance Education(s) conference in Trondheimn, Norway April 2020, if not for COVID. She looks forward to digitally presenting this research instead at the Bodily Learning conference out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in April 2021.

Buono is an Adjunct Lecturer across the Departments of Dance and Interdisciplinary Arts for Children Program, where she teaches Children’s Dance courses.


Somatic movement literacy is when one is literate in Body, making meaning from somatic experiences. It is not just developing an understanding about the body, objectively. Oriented around somatics and embodied cognition, this article will present a framework of somatic movement literacy developed by Paul Linden to be mapped onto arts-based, phenomenological findings of the lived experience of three young children in their preschool mindful movement classes. Methods of arts-based educational research, such as bodily writing, Laban Movement Analysis, and phenomenological methods were originally applied to understand young children’s experiences with a mindfully somatic pedagogy. The initial findings were mapped onto Linden’s framework of somatic literacy to investigate if this mode of literacy could be fostered with preschool-aged childrenSomatic movement literacy was found to involve aspects of agency, Body-awareness, cultural community membership, experiential knowledge, and physical proficiency. Findings demonstrated that young children are capable of understanding who they are, what is happening internally and externally through movement and bodily learning, and how their lives are interconnected with others.

Read the article online

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