CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRESCHOOL DANCE PROGRAM FOR YOUR CHILD!
In the United States, dance instructors are not required to pass any examination criteria to open a dance studio. The following information should give you a better insight on why to pick our studio for your preschooler’s dance education.
AS A TEACHER:
The decision to teach dance to the preschool age child is one which requires much thought and planning. While teaching students at a very young age can be rewarding for the student, parents and teacher, a poorly developed program can be harmful, driving many students from dance for the rest of their lives as well as possibly doing serious damage to both the body and technique of the dancer. Teaching children two to six years of age is a very different task than teaching an older child. The preschool aged child is not as fully developed physically or mentally, in most individuals, as the school aged child. Therefore a greater degree of patience, tender loving care, animation and gentle discipline is required of the instructor.
Debby Dillehay has been certified by test to teach not only by her dance instructor, but by Louisiana Association of Dance Masters, nationally by Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America and instructed in the Leap n Learn program explained below.
She trains her faculty on the same strict guidelines so that all faculty members teaching preschool classes are teaching the same materials. Faculty members Staci Gelpi and Dwanyelle Smith have also been certified by test to teach by Dance Masters of America. Debby is also certified to teach yoga to children by Next Generation Yoga.
The Discovery Health Channel reports that as soon as a child starts moving to music, it’s time to start a dance class. Our format for pre-school classes meets their recommendations. We are proud to be one of the few studios in the area that give this special attention and training to the pre-school dancer. Our preschool classes are divided into four distinct levels: (1) Mom and Tot for ages 18 months to 3 years of age with parent, (2) Primary for ages 2½-4 years of age, (3) PK for ages 4 to 5 and (4) K for ages 5-6. Each level is specifically designed for that particular age bracket making it fun for the dancer who still learns technique and terminology.
Classes are one hour consisting of tap, ballet, creative movement to give the student a well-rounded start and to keep their interest with variety. Ballet is the best subject to build technical strength and posture, tap works on speed and intricacy, creative movement for overall development with tumbling for strength. Each class involves much song and dance. We use a “color and learn” program where students take home a picture of a character performing a certain step they may have learned that day and are instructed to color the picture. This adds fun to the learning process.
Props are also used in the creative movement aspect of the class. Scarves, swimming noodles, hoops, stuffed animals, etc. are used to develop creativity and stir the student’s interest.
Debby and Staci have been trained in the Leap n Learn (LnL) early childhood development pre-ballet program personally by author Beverly Spell and child psychologist, Dr. Annie W. Spell. The rest of the faculty has now been trained in the LnL program by Debby. LnL provides a framework for motor, perceptual and cognitive skills teaching meaningful movement, not just copying. LnL aids our already successful program addressing the many factors that make up dance: musical awareness, relating to dance space, movement concepts, pantomine, performing and many more. Pretend play/dance is an important factor in a child developing a perspective of the world around them. LnL is designed to develop the “whole brain” with the right hemisphere accessing feeling and emotion and the left hemisphere serving as the technician or organizer. This program also teaches that introducing a child to movement and its concept will help to ensure a lifetime of good health.
Our dress code of black leotard, black stockings, tan tap shoes and pink ballet shoes begins to instill the idea of a properly attired dancer in a child’s mind. A more detailed dress code list will be given upon registering.
TO MAKE THE PARENT COMFORTABLE:
Even though parents are not allowed in the classroom, we believe you should always be allowed to watch what is going on in your child’s class. Therefore, we have large television monitors in the waiting room for you to observe. We also use age appropriate music for your child as well as age appropriate costumes in our recital. Parental involvement is very important to the success of each child.
FOR THE CHILD:
Young dancers will be instructed in “Dancers Manners” which include:
1. Dancers never run in the studio, especially in their tap shoes. They are slippery and you may fall.
2. Dancers never chew gum in class as it is dangerous if you swallow it.
3. Dancers always tie their hair up.
4. Dancers never hang on the ballet barres.
5. Dancers listen to their teachers. Keep your eyes on them when they are instructing. They want to help you become a beautiful dancer.
6. Be polite to your classmates including keeping your hands to yourself, waiting for your turn, talking only during Share Time.
I sincerely hope this information helps you make this very important decision.