Dance activities to support mental health in adolescents in the high school setting
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After 21 years of teaching high school and seeing the increasingly common presence of mental health issues in students, the author arrives at this project to investigate the use of dance to support mental health in adolescents. Because the author perceives that dance can assist in the improvement of mental health through self-expression, she began by gathering information on mental health statistics, dance learning in relation to mental health, the WhyTry curriculum (a social-emotional learning program), and the National Core Arts Standards in Dance. She then chose three activities from the WhyTry curriculum and enhanced them with dance and in alignment with the National Core Arts Standards in Dance while still maintaining the social-emotional learning elements. The three activities the author enhanced have an easy-to-follow plan for the teacher and provide students an opportunity to use movement to explore and perhaps conquer difficult situations they may face in life.