Is Your Child Ready for Dance Class?
Congratulations on taking this exciting step in your child’s development. A new space, new faces, and leaving our grown-up can sometimes produce big emotions. Some children will gallop with excitement into the studio with a smile. Others may be hesitant or cry. Some may stand or sit and observe. And others may be so excited they never stop moving! The following is a guide for parents to evaluate and understand what normal, developmentally appropriate behavior is during the first-class experience. Together, we will help your child feel safe, so they can easily and quickly adjust to their new routine that includes dance classes!
Don’t give up if...
· child walks into studio independently
· child participates when he/she is invited to join an activity
· the teacher gives him/her a job and he/she does it
· child watches the teacher or participating children during class
· child takes prop when given
· child cries but also participates
· child stops crying for a certain activity
· child observes other classes with excitement
· child talks about dance at home
· child dances and does class activities at home
· parents are supportive about working with the teacher during separation process
Maybe needs a change if...
· crying on the way to dance does not end after 3-4 weeks
· teacher has to take him/her from parent’s arms after 3-4 weeks
· child seems sleepy and irritable due to time of class (naptime, end of day)
· crying and no participation during the entire class does not end after 2-3 weeks · child hits or kicks the teacher, assistant, or other students
· child runs for the door and tries to exit studio after 2-3 weeks
· child is distracting or upsetting other students in class after 2-3 weeks
· attendance is not consistent
Change could be...
·class on a different day or time
·more time before child tries again
Preschool Classes FAQ
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Make dance class the highlight of the week! Each preschool dance class at The Graceful Planet Studio of Dance brings new adventures to your child's day. Below you will find a guide so you know what to expect and some frequently asked questions. If you have any questions of your own please do not hesitate to reach out to Grace.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there a dress code?
Dress codes serve many purposes when it comes to dance education. They create a sense of community and belonging (my friends look like me, we have something in common), promote discipline (when it’s dance class, wearing my uniform is how I show my teacher I am ready to learn), and allow for full range of movement (I can move my whole body without anything getting in my way). From a teacher’s perspective, a dress code is a system put forth as part of our classroom management plan due to the fact that they eliminate distractions. Eliminating these distractions allows us to maximize our time together with learning and growing. Having a set dress code, also reduces stress at home when preparing to come to dance class (when it’s time for dance, I know exactly what to wear!).
My child is advanced for his/her age, can he/she dance with older children?
To create an ideal learning environment, age groups are taught separately to ensure proper instruction at each stage of development (just like academic schools). With less of a range of developmental stages in the classroom, the teacher is able to focus on the needs of each individual student no matter their skill set. This is a system put forth in our strategic classroom management plan that allows our time together to be used more effectively. Please do not put our staff in the position of offering preferential treatment by placing your child in a class not intended for them. We strive to treat all families equally and request respect in our decision making as we have your child’s best interests at the forefront of those decisions.
Why is my dancer just standing/sitting and watching?
How a child participates in class depends on their unique style of learning. According to the VAK (Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic) Learning Styles model, everyone processes information differently. Every dance class “looks” different because the dynamics of the children’s learning styles differ. Your child may be a visual learner. A visual learner will watch the teacher and classmates carefully to process the information being taught. Your child may be an auditory learner. An auditory learner listens carefully to process information. Visual and auditory learners may not move as much as kinesthetic learners. These learners process information by moving and doing.
To avoid distraction in class, and for the safety of those who are attentive with their listening and watching skills, the teacher may ask them to stand or sit to the side. Rest assured, they will be invited to move with the class often and they are still learning. In fact, the visual and auditory learners often take what they see and hear and re-enact the entire dance class at home with their families! All learning styles are accepted, celebrated, and developmentally appropriate.
Should I come get my dancer if he/she is crying?
It is developmentally appropriate for a child to cry the first few days of classes, working through a challenging skill, or struggling with a new concept. We are learning new and exciting things every week. When new things are difficult, big emotions can take over. If your child is upset, the teacher will assess the situation and may hold his/her hand, pick them up (with their permission), or have them sit down by the wall for their safety. They will continuously be invited back to join the fun. If the teacher sees your child is ill or uncontrollably upset, the teacher will bring them out to you. If you open the studio door, peek in, or enter the classroom, you will not only escalate the situation, but you will increase the distraction for the other children in the class. Thank you for your cooperation.
Can I drop my child off and come back when class is over?
Yes, but please make sure they use the bathroom before class and before you leave.
My child cries on the way to dance class but seems to enjoy class once we arrive. What should I do?
There could be many reasons why your child says they do not want to go to dance class. The first thing you should do is reach out to the teacher. By letting us know, we can evaluate the situation together and work towards a solution that is best for your child. In our experience, it’s usually not “going to dance class” that is the reason for the push back, especially if they enjoy dance once they get into class. Rather, it’s a change in routine. This could happen with a big move, new baby in the family, starting school/daycare, or the simple fact that they are hungry or tired. The teacher will be able to evaluate the dancer in class to see if there are certain skills or concepts the child may be struggling with that could be causing the push back. After speaking together and deciding what could be causing the tears, a clearer understanding will appear, and a plan can be put into place. Open communication is key.
Should I observe my dancer from the viewing window?
We welcome you to observe your child through our viewing windows. Your support for their dance education is crucial as they grow through our program. However, if your child is easily distracted, we ask that you not observe. Doing so can quickly escalate off-task behavior leading to wasted class time. You know your child best. We appreciate your assistance in helping us create an environment where attentive learning can take place.
What should we do if we are late for class?
Being late for class is going to happen, and it’s ok! Often times rushing to get to class on time can cause a child to become anxious or upset. If this sounds like your child, it’s important to reassure him/her that they will not be in trouble and it’s ok to be late sometimes. When you arrive, remaining calm will help your child remain calm. Don’t forget hugs and kisses before quietly sending your child into class. To avoid off-task behavior for the rest of the students, it is best to enter between songs or activities. If you are unable to consistently arrive on time, please speak with us to find a class that is more suitable for your schedule.
Why does it look like you are playing rather than dancing?
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, children learn through play. “Play” in dance classes is exploring all the amazing ways our bodies can move, developing movement skills, and expressing our individual creativity. Incorporating props, stories, and student-centered explorations is essential. These will create a strong foundation based on a clear understanding of the essence of movement and the basics of dance. This foundation will prepare dancers for their future technical training in any dance genre.
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