School level

Dance in education involves the child in creating, performing and appreciating movement as a means of expression and communication. Dance differs from the other aspects of the physical education programme in that the primary concern is with the expressive quality of movement and the enjoyment and appreciation of the aesthetic and artistic qualities of movement. The dance programme involves the child in a range of creative and folk dance. When creating dance, the child explores a range of body parts, body actions and body shapes. Concepts relating to the body in space, the changing dynamics of movement and the implications of moving in relation to another person and his/her environment are explored. The child is encouraged to dance in response to different stimuli and accompaniment and to view dance performance. The child’s concept of what a dance can be enriched by opportunities to see and appraise the more accomplished work of others.

Primary School PE Curriculum, page 5

PDST Dance Resources
Other Dance Resources

If I can move, I can dance

Diverse range of creative dance activities suitable for all class levels. Warm-ups, cross curriculum links as well as musical appreciation and rhythm explored.

Creative dance

Exploration of use of body, space, effort and relationships in dance.  Dance games and as well as understanding and appreciation of dance activities included.

Creative dance - using mardi gras as a stimulus

This handout outlines the development of a sample creative dance lesson, with development ideas suitable for both the junior and senior classes.

Creative dance- rainbow dance

A series of seven creative dance lessons, using the story of the rainbow as a stimulus.  Aimed at fifth/ sixth classes but may be adapted for other levels.

Creative dance – compass dance

Sample creative dance lesson based on creation of compass dance.  The lesson also focusses on the FMS of balance.

Folk dance videos

Video footage of children performing a wide variety of folk dances across class levels.  Also includes instructional videos for folk dance steps such as rising step, promenade step and sidestep. Includes links to music and descriptions of all dances.

Folk dance activities

This resource contains warm up activities for dance, activities and progressions for a variety of folk dances including sean nós, examples of how FMS can be embedded in folk dance and link to accompanying music playlist.

120 non contact activities for physical education across the primary school

The PDST Primary PE team has developed non contact activities to support the teaching of Physical Education across the primary school.

Embedding FMS in PE – Move Well Move Often

Move Well Move Often Physical Literacy website with resources which can be used to develop FMS, motivation and confidence as well as knowledge and understanding in all strands of PE.

Embedding FMS in dance – Move Well Move Often

Resource which highlights specific Move Well Move Often skills and activities suitable for dance strand.

Embedding FMS in dance – sample lessons

Sample lesson plans highlighting how fundamental movement skills can be embedded in dance lessons.  

Sample inclusive dance lesson

Sample inclusive dance lesson with FMS skill of balance embedded

Children’s books for wellbeing

This resource explores how books can be used as a stimulus for movement, creativity and physically expressing emotions in PE dance lessons. Example dance activities and a sample lesson are included.

Varying Movement Actions for Gymnastics and Dance

Resource outlining examples of how dance concepts such as shapes, directions, pathways, levels, dynamics and relationships can be varied within activities.

PSSI lesson plans

6 sample dance lessons across all primary school class levels.

PE Homework – Active Every Day Activity Book and Homework Charts

PE homework activities and charts to complement PE strand based learning undertaken in school.  Specific dance activities included.

Beyond the classroom

PE homework videos and activity packs to compliment PE FMS learning undertaken in school.

PE at home

A series of video clips that aim to complement strand based learning in PE at home.  2 dance lessons for pupils to complete at home are included.

Selected open access resources which may be adapted to the Irish context from other organisations are linked below. Please note these are external resource not designed by the PDST and teachers should ensure they are appropriate for their own classes before use.

Creative dance tales – The wolf and peter

Four creative dance lesson plans, visuals and accompanying music to accompany the story of Peter and the Wolf. Adaptable for 1st - 6th Class.

Disentangling Inclusion in Primary Physical Education (DIPPE)

This online resource highlights practices, strategies and resources to support teachers to include all children in primary PE lessons, with a focus on children with additional needs. Gross/Fine motor skills, sensory, communication, physical capabilities, attention/concentration and social, emotional, relational are some of the areas explored.



Folk and line dances

Website which has instructional videos for eight different folk and line dances.



Action for life – Dance lessons for PE

Action for Life is an Irish heart foundation PE and SPHE programme for primary schools. The programme includes lesson plans with activities and resources.  This resource links to PDST Move Well Move Often and physical literacy development.  It includes dance strand lessons for junior, middle and senior classes.  

PE Support Agencies

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