Dancing With Books

What is Arts Integration?

Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students learn academic concepts and demonstrate their understanding through an art form. Numerous studies show that children learn best through the arts. The preschool years are a critical time to introduce children to the arts because 75% of brain development occurs before the age of 5.  

ICIC’s strategy is directly linked to best practices shown to be effective in other early childhood settings. A recent study conducted by Early Childhood Education Journal, suggests that “integrating the arts in ECE emergent literacy programs may present promising effects on learning-related, emergent-literacy and school-readiness skills of high-risk preschoolers”.  
Learn More 

Examples of how the arts are used to teach academic skills: 

  • Drumming and rhythm sticks teach 1-to-1 correspondence, an essential early math skill
  • African Dance teaches sequencing skills necessary for reading comprehension and counting 
  • Creative movement engages the imagination and triggers visualization, necessary skill for reading comprehension and mathematical computation.  
  • Native American sign language develops motor skills needed for holding a pencil and writing.
  • Singing and dancing in a group teaches critical listening and cooperation skills necessary for social- emotional development.


Articles and References of Interest:

Arts in Education Research Study  –  The Kennedy Center

 2014 Progress Report  –  The Right Brain Initiative

2015 Washington Post Article - Making An Art of Education

Our Teaching Artists

ICIC Teaching Artists are not only experienced early childhood educators but also active performers, so the singing, dancing and musicianship in their workshops are professional caliber. Each day's lesson conveys crucial arts integration skills while also delivering artistic excellence.

Dancing With Books classroom residency is 3 months of embedded arts integration with a focus on developing literacy.

The three teams of teaching artists spend three weeks each, working with students and teachers, to both change the ways that teachers teach, and inspire a hunger for learning in the children. 

ICIC teaching artists select an engaging, colorful book that inspires their imagination.  This book will be the “thread” that connects their work with the students. Artists are commissioned to create music and choreography that relates to the story. Children learn the material and perform for their friends and family at the end of the residency.

  • Every child that participates in Dancing With Books receives a backpack full of books to take home.
  • Every Child Development Center that participates In Dancing With Books receives new books for their classroom libraries.
  • Participating teachers earn OSSE clock hours for professional development credit. 

Contact us if you'd like a Dancing With Books residency in your pre-k classroom.

Recipients of Dancing With Books Residencies


Fall: Children’s Hut & Goldie’s

Winter: Happy Faces

Spring: Kuumba Learning Center &     Paramount CDC


Fall: Briya Public Charter School: Bancroft & Georgia Ave. locations

Winter: Loving Care CDC & Israel Baptist CDC

Spring: Kiddies Kollege & Dawn to Dusk CDC



Fall: Martha’s Table

Winter: DC Citywide Welfare Rights CDC

Spring: Full Gospel CDC & Pilgrim Baptist CDC