Hello spangles...I always enjoy reading your thoughtful posts, and your input is very appreciated. A while back, Dean Speer posted this response (Structure for a Basic Pointe Class), which I printed out for my own reference. Perhaps you might find it helpful, too. http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewt ... ht=#160863
I don't have my students use pre-pointe shoes (nor does the school for which I mostly teach) as I am not affiliated with the RAD training syllabus for which pre-pointe shoes are required. I do teach for another school which does use this syllabus, but I am the "free-style" teacher for the intermediate/advanced level.
I believe that when a student is ready for pointe, basic pointe exercises in pointe shoes should be introduced for 10 minutes or so following technique class. Eventually, the student will be able to spend more time "on pointe" in a basic pointe class. Of course, there are varying methods and exercises for teaching pre-pointe and pointe, and I certainly respect this. For beginning pointe, my students spend most of the time at the barre executing similar exercises to Dean's class. I have them "walk" on pointe in the center forward and, then, backward. Bourrees are a good first "center" exercise. Glissades with a "brush" and/or a little "developpe" stepping up to fifth on pointe (roll down through the feet to fifth plie) are good, IMO. Echappes in second and when a bit stronger, include fourth, are good first center exercises.