The KidsPace Dance Code of Practice
The KidsPace Dance Code of Practice (DCP) is a practical tool to combat sexualised and harmful messages in dance education, and empower educators to embrace positive, holistic teaching practices that safeguard the wellbeing of our young people. The DCP is a research-based tool, reviewed and endorsed by academia and leaders in the Arts, Education, Psychology and Government. It has been diligently crafted in line with current peer-reviewed research on the psychological development of children and young people, and written in recognition of Article 29 and Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). The DCP's various clauses encourage best practices surrounding costuming, music, choreography, social media presence and more.
We invite dance studios, arts organisations, schools and all providers of children's dance education to join in the mission of KidsPace. To register your interest in viewing the DCP upon publication, please fill in the contact form provided here!
Why a Code of Practice?
Marika Tiggemann and fellow researcher, Amy Slater, from Flinders University in Adelaide, were the first to document the appearance-obsessed behaviours of young Australian girls in their June 2014 study: 'Contemporary Girlhood: Maternal Reports on Sexualised Behaviour and Appearance in 4-10 year-old girls'. Results showed that girls aged four to 10-years-old are prematurely engaging with teen culture, and exhibiting hyper-sexualised behaviours through attention to personal grooming, clothing and bodily appearance. The study assessed the activities favoured and participated in most by girls of this age - with dance surpassing all, at a staggering 96%.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported in April 2012 that 727,000 girls aged five to 14 years participated in an organised sport outside of school. Of this figure, 418,000 were enrolled in a dance school (58 percent), up from 390,400 in 2009. Participation in dance education is increasing by annual increments of tens of thousands, with dance studios and in-school dance programs now one of the most common public spaces you will find a young Australian girl.
There are currently over 100 global reports and findings published on the way sexualised messages are impacting cultural norms, and affecting the healthy development of children. We believe this issue can be addressed by assessing and strengthening the surroundings in which children are most commonly positioned, one of them being, the dance classroom. As Dance Educators, we have a prolific responsibility to engage with this issue and actively safeguard not only the physical, however the mental and emotional wellbeing of all children within our care.