Creative Arts Therapies Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Art in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (MA)


Creative Arts Therapies

First Advisor

Imus, Susan

Second Advisor

Downey, Laura

Third Advisor

Rothwell, Kim


dance/movement therapy, body, movement, social-emotional learning, pre-school, children, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension, special education, education.


The purpose of this program development is to address the problem of true inclusion by focusing on the role of the body and movement in social-emotional learning (SEL) among pre-school children. Every year, millions of 3 to 4 year old children leave the safe cradle of their home and embark on a life-long journey of discovery where they soon find out that not everyone is like them. To teach them that different does not mean necessarily separate, I used the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension logic model to develop a movement-based curriculum for an inclusive pre-school classroom focusing on SEL. Specifically designed to be implemented by dance/movement therapists, these can be assisted by teachers in a shared endeavor to achieve inclusion of all children, whatever their needs are. I have sought insights and ideas for such a program by observing blended pre-K classrooms and conducting interviews with professionals in the field of special and regular education and dance/movement therapy. My final project, Unique But United, provides a collection of movement-based methods and strategies compiled into 10 themed sections that encourage individuality and creativity, favor strengths over disabilities, and make children bound to thrive. Future adaptations, implementation, and evaluation, even though not in the scope of this thesis, have also been explored. 185 pages.