Primrose Schools® Dances for Healthy Bodies, Happy Hearts

ATLANTA (Feb. 24, 2012) – Primrose Schools, The Leader in Educational Child Care®, is dancing for healthy bodies and happy hearts in the third annual Family Dance-off, benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Primrose Schools invites families across the country to submit their 30-second dance videos to FamilyDanceoff.com to compete for cash prizes and a donation to their Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

“Dancing is a great way for families to enjoy fun physical activity together,” said Dr. Laura Jana, pediatrician, early educator and national parenting expert. “Dancing can help even the youngest children stay active and fit, while at the same time supporting the development of important social, cognitive and motor skills.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three American children is overweight or obese. Additional research reveals that of this one-third, 90 percent become overweight before their fifth birthday, with a full 50 percent becoming overweight by age 2. With leading experts now focusing on age 2 as a “tipping point” for later obesity; it’s more important than ever to counter this trend by promoting healthy habits in early childhood. Primrose Schools is dedicated to creating lifelong healthy lifestyle skills in our children. Each day at Primrose, children engage in purposeful play through the school’s Thumbs Up! ® Physical Activity and Outdoor Play Program. The program is designed to offer daily health-enhancing activities that help children develop a strong foundation of physical skills. The Family Dance-off is part of Primrose’s commitment to fostering happy hearts and healthy bodies not only in each of its schools and communities, but in all families nationwide.

In the first two years of the Family Dance-off, Primrose Schools donated a total of $101,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In 2012, the third annual contest will bring an additional $81,000 in donations to local children in need. Families can submit videos online from Feb. 25 through March 23. During each week of the contest, the four family videos with the most online votes will be named finalists. A total of 16 families will each receive a $1,000 donation to their Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and advance to the finalist round from March 26-30 to compete for the grand, second and third prizes. The grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a $30,000 donation to their Children’s Miracle Network Hospital; the second prize winner, a $3,000 cash prize and Primrose will make a $20,000 donation to their Children’s Miracle Network Hospital; and the third prize winner, a $1,500 cash prize and Primrose will make a $15,000 donation to their Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The winners will be determined solely based on the number of online votes received during finalist week. For full contest rules, visit FamilyDanceoff.com.

Tips to Get Your Family Dancing:

As a nationally recognized pediatrician, author and owner of a Primrose School in Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Laura Jana helps explain how dance can foster important aspects of a child’s development and offers four easy steps to help all children dance their way to healthier bodies and happier hearts.

Step 1: Groove to the right music. Take into account age-appropriate lyrics and find a danceable beat which can inspire your child to want to move. Children tend to respond most eagerly to familiar songs that have a catchy beat. Whether you opt for an eight-count beat that isn’t too fast or too slow, or simply select a song that is sure to make your child get up and move, regular dancing can help develop your child’s ability to move in time with the music.

Step 2: Dance to develop motor skills. Freestyle dancing is great for getting the heart rate up, but it also develops your child’s motor skills and coordination. Dancing enables children to practice fundamental skills like jumping, landing, leaping, sliding, galloping, moving forward and backwards, and learning to mimic moves – all while having fun. Here are a few basic dance concepts:

  • Flow: The transition between steps, moving from one position to another, combining several steps, as well as some movements like stretching or bending while standing still all help your child learn to go with the flow. The idea is to connect the steps as smoothly as you can.
  • Force: Showing a child how to be strong like a stomping elephant or soft like a falling snowflake can help him learn to use strong and light force in his movements.
  • Speed: Ever notice how music naturally prompts you to move slowly or quickly? Try varying the speed of your child’s dance songs and watch her express herself!
  • Formation: Every member of the family can get involved by dancing independently or with a partner. Have some added fun by dancing in formation, helping your child learn to mirror your movements or vice versa.

Step 3: Dance to build an understanding of rhythm. Children inherently respond to music with movement. As a natural way to learn about rhythm, encourage your child to make up a dance routine by incorporating his suggestions like jumping, leaping, sliding or galloping to the music. Provide a nurturing touch by holding, lifting and bouncing your child to the rhythm and joining in the fun. While your child will be putting his brain power to good, creative use, you will enjoy the bonding that inevitably takes place with shared family fun.

Step 4: Enter Primrose Schools’ Family Dance-off contest. Film your family’s best moves and upload your video to FamilyDanceoff.com between Feb. 25 and March 23 for a chance to win!

For more parenting tips, visit DrZandFriends.com.

About Primrose Schools

Celebrating 30 years of service in 2012, Primrose Schools is the nation’s leader in providing well-rounded early childhood education and nurturing child care services in more than 240 schools in 17 states. The foundation for Primrose Schools is based on a dedicated and passionate group of early childhood professionals providing high quality education with a balance of learning, character development and play.

Primrose Schools offers the Balanced Learning® curriculum, which blends teacher-directed and child-initiated activities and is consistently delivered in all Primrose schools nationwide. This exclusive curriculum is standards-based and enables teachers to help children build a foundation of knowledge and skills that will enable them to move successfully from one level of development to the next.

Primrose is the first preschool organization in the country to require all of its schools to become SACS CASI or NCA CASI accredited. Primrose Schools stands behind its commitment to deliver an exceptional early childhood experience with the Primrose Guarantee, a parent’s assurance of complete satisfaction. For more information, visit www.PrimroseSchools.com.

About Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America, which, in turn, use the money where it’s needed the most. When a donation is given it stays in the community, helping local kids. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4 billion, most of it $1 at a time. These donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all in support of the mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn more at www.CMNHospitals.org.

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