public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:33 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 9:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 76
Location: BC , Canada
Maybe it's just me???<P>Maybe I am getting Old & intolerant...losing patience??<P>Maybe I am learning something from experience?<P>The topic...Dance for the diaper set...does it have merit?<P>I am not talking a real dance "technical" class but rather about the creative movement, pre-dance crowd.<P> Before I begin my blather, I want to say that I have done my Early Childhood Education ( 3 yrs University) ...managed a day care, owned a day care and worked in many programs for this age group.<P>So now I will come out with what I am thinking.<P>I do not believe that dance classes at these ages have any real merit. I feel the children would gain just as much from a Kinder gym class as they would from dance..creative movement or otherwise.<P>For the following reasons:<P> attention span, Physical maturity, cognative functioning and emotional maturity.<P> Classes at these ages tend to be just busy work that parents enrol thier children in..as a flavor of the week activity. <P>For the teacher it is organised baby sitting.<P>I say it is better to give them other activities until they are 6yrs then enroll them in dance.. if they ask for it. For a technical training wait until they are 8.<P>To many classes at these age groups are felt to be a studio/schools bread and butter, the vision to the future. I disagree and say that it is more true that by the time they are actually fully ready to begin dance, they are within themselves wanting to quit dance....this before they even understand what it is all about.<P> Now I supose an argument could be that it is the job of the teacher to instil a love of dance ....honestly how can you make a 3 yr old (or anybody)love something... they love mommy & daddy, rover and Kitty....they love their barbies and their Furbies... they love self initialised play over teacher directed play.<P>Sure, put the music on and watch them go,,, they are natural movers ..every one... so let them enjoy that.... In Kinder gym or in their living room and if they feel the desire to dance when they are ready.. then bring them to - Us - dance teachers.<P>Confession: <P>I run two creative movement classes 3-4 yrs<BR>and One pre-dance 5 yrs. I have been doing it for 14 yrs and aaalthough they ahve gone quite well and been great "money makers" I have come to the conclusion that they are of merit only as a play activity. <P>I am strongly considering discontinuing these programs next year as I do not want to baby sit... I prefer to teach.<P>Or....Maybe I am just getting Old, intolerant and impatient.<P>Would love to hear others thoughts on this<P>feel free to disagree if like.... I have not become that intolerant yet LOL.<P>Rabbit<P><p>[This message has been edited by Rabbit (edited January 08, 2001).]

_________________
<BR>Ramona Hartley<BR>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 4:52 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 34
Location: italy
Well, Rabbit, this is a great topic. Basically, I agree with you. Teaching the little ones is a very demanding task and often it's not rewarding for the teacher. It's just baby sitting or something like that. Parents are very intrusive, children are not involved, to instill the love for ballet is quite impossible. I've been teaching pre-primary classes since the beginning of my teahcing carreer and maybe I'm a little fed up too. Maybe I too am becoming intolerant as you, I don't know. But I don't want to give up. I think that pre-primary classes requires a big effort but they prepare the children for their future job. If we can teach them discipline, how to behave during a class, how to walk correctly, to respect their teacher and their classmates... well, this means we have accomplished our task. Note that I don't talk about teaching ballet, this of course would be impossible. But I think that the discipline required by a ballet class is something unique which doesn't exist in other physical activities and if we start to teach it form the very beginning our task will be easier in the future. Usually, it takes me two or three months before I get accustomed to my little students and they get accustomed to me. These are tremendous months for me which require my biggest efforts and often I feel discouraged. At the end of a pre-primary class I'm always completely exhausted. But I still think it's worth while. Our task is going to be more and more difficult because children of our days have not discipline (and this is their parents' fault) and they are too much stressed. But it'is great and rewarding when we succed in instilling in them the love for ballet . So I think I'll keep on. antoP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 5:55 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
Oh Rabbit! I'm right there with you, feeling old and intolerant of small whining children, runny noses, sticky fingers(ok that is a Stones album *S*) and then there are the MOTHERS! I don't feel that my three-year old class (we call it pre-dance) is really moving the way I would like to see them, they enjoy the class, they do what I ask of them, they TRY to listen, but there is only so much they are capable of. It seems that we "do" the same things week after week with varying themes on the concept. When they return after the summer break--they are starting at page one all over again, even though they are now four. <P>Next season I am cutting my three-year old class with the "reason" that I want to re-work my syllabus goals and do some research on new work that is out there for that age group. (and yes I will probably take a good look around at it all and make some decisions for 2002) But I am at my limit and feel that it is really not worth my time and energy to teach this age--I often feel exhausted after this age group!<P>I think perhaps the place for three-year old classes is the six week intro or the summer sessions for them to see what it is like without the recitals, the year-long commitment, the added costs. <P>The four and five year old classes I don't see as the "bread and butter" but I feel (definitely at age five) that it is a good intro into the studio setting and the rules of the studio, manners of dancers, and working together as a group. I think this is a good base to work from when they are six-seven, BUT I don't feel there is anything that the six-seven year olds don't pick up on as easily if they had learned it a year earlier. <P>It would be ideal if children today had to actually WAIT for some things--and dance would be a great thing to have to wait for, but as Grace said--the competition will pick up those classes and possibly provide an inferior experience for those little ones who are being pushed into a dance class. Parents seem to want to push children faster and farther than ever in all areas--my good dancers are also good students, good musicians, good athletes--there seems to be nothing they can't do, they are all well-accomplished but they have not accomplished any one thing well. <P>Not much help, but feeling your frustration!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 7:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I don't remember teaching any group younger than 5-6 yr olds. However, the studio at which I taught did have many of these younger (3-4 yr old) classes. Often there was not only a teacher, but also a teenage assistant. That seemed to help. As I remember it these classes for the younger children were only 45 minutes long. <P>At the 5-6 yr. old level it does take a tremendous amount of patience. I remember having to "wait" for them to join me. If I said "let's go over to this side of the room" - it took a while before everyone really "heard" this and joined me. It wasn't that they were noisy or misbehaving, it just takes a while for them to respond to an instruction.<P>I also found that instruction really needed to be brought to an individual level. At that age they don't "hear" instruction given to a group - they simply don't comprehend that a group instruction means them, personally.<P>Like - "please put your left foot in front" - is addressed to the group, but then I found I needed to repeat it to several in the group appending their name to the instruction so they really HEARD it.<P>Many of the schools in this area have these classes taught entirely by teenage students. In that way the studio caters to the demand that is out there without the studio owner or the professional teachers having to teach this age group. I really consider that irresponsible. A teenage assistant is a good idea - but not to teach the class entirely on her own. <P>There were very few students of this age that I didn't care for - but as someone mentioned above - there were several mothers I could very well have done without. It was not a personal thing -but just watching them instill a false competitiveness in their daughters, a false snobbery, especially at so young an age, was very discouraging to see. <P>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 9:52 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Yes,I think there is merit. Lots of it. I may be in the minority, but I have seen the rewards time and again. The age of three can be a little tough in terms of redirection at times and the roles I had to play as singer (I sing through a great deal of that class), comedian, storyteller, etc. I would do it all again, no hesitation.<P>By 4 and especially 5, they seem more like 35 years old in comparison. I have had up to 25 children of this age in a class for one hour, with no assistant, and we did wonderful things together. I had a group of 5 year olds learn a character piece so well that they taught it step for step to a parent I pulled from the audience one day for parents' day.<P>I've never raised my voice to children, and I can promise you that on the day of recital, this very large group sits in the audience without a peep, claps for the other classes, walks up calmly onto the stage, performs their number in a professional manner, bows and exits, all in a manner that astonishes their parents. They have never failed to rise to the occasion, loving the limits I place on their behavior and the expectations I have of them.<P>They learn much more than dance (although they know -- at this age -- many concepts and much terminology -- "Class, this is the step of the rhinoceros, right?" -- "NOOOOOO, MISS CHRISSY, THAT'S THE STEP OF THE HORSE!") They learn when to be still and when to move. They learn how to calm themselves and to focus, to be brave and try new things, to improve their concentration, to build their self-confidence, to improve their vocabulary of language, music and nutrition, to be appreciative and respectful of one another, their teacher and their parents, to cope with days when they feel out of sorts and still do their classwork, to be responsible for their property and to respect that of others, to learn good grooming, hygiene and etiquette. <P>No -- much can be taught at this age. And, while it's true that sometimes teachers need a break, even an extended one, their time spent in dance class with these young ones is not wasted. <P>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 10:10 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Tulsa, OK, USA
We have had teachers perspectives, so why not a dreaded dance moms opinion! My daughter started dance at age 4 and is now 14. As a parent pre-school dance seemed important at the time, as kindergarten enrollment in our area tested general motor skills and coordination. It was also important that the child interact appropriately in a group. Do I think it made a difference, whose to say. However I do cherish the recital videos of my Tiny Tutu Tot. We were blessed with a teacher who had a gift of teaching little ones, but I know it was a difficult challenge. I do believe that 3 year olds in dance class is probably a waste, but that preschool year for 4 year olds is helpful as it prepares them with a more structured environment. Would you believe that 5 out of 15 little dancers who started out with my daughter as 4 year olds are still in class together as 9th graders. Oh yea, they still pick on each other (not their noses) and get unruly at times. LOL <P>------------------<BR>ap's mom

_________________
ap's mom


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 10:15 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
I agree with you Christina, to a point--much can be taught at this age, but the student who waits until six or seven to begin dance lessons is not usually "behind" other children of the same age with two to three years of "experience". It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with this age group and you should be commended for your time and patience. *S* I think most who take on this age group to teach (in addition to being incredibly patient teachers) are instilling a love of dance and movement, but I feel that these same children (4-5) will progress with their peers who join at a later age (6-7-8) at the same level for the most part due to cognitive and physiological development. I think that is the real question for me at this point--if little "Jane" takes class at 3 or waits until she is 7 to begin--will she be ahead of or behind the level one class that requires all beginners to be six years old? I really don't think she will be behind technically although the introduction of dancer's manners and classroom behavior will be a new thing for her.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 11:25 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
And -- those classroom manners and behavior will REALLY be a handful to instill to those who start as adults. Egads. I'm about ready to start issuing citations. You would think that common sense would count for something. <P>One woman I know who laments starting late and gushes about how much she luuuuuuuvs ballet, never loses a second to chew the fat in class. About 3 or 4 constantly join her. And, I really like these people, but it's frustrating to put up with this. Along with entering late with a lot of fan fare, or rushing mid-exercise in the middle of the barre and disrupting other dancers. Not to mention the lack of deodorant use, etc. <P>Somehow, I like to think that Miss Chrissy's admonitions early in life will preclude her students from ever exhibiting this behavior. <P>Please don't take my 3-year-olds away!!!!!!!! pleassssssssssssse.<P>I love hearing them remind each other, "Make a line, not a clump," when waiting for their stickers for good behavior. Or when I tell them how much trouble and money it costs for mommies and daddies to come see them perform. "Let's see, two tickets, gasoline, parking, the babysitter, a new dress and hairdo, perfume and makeup ... what are all those people in the audience going to say when they see you act goofy like you're doing right now on stage?" <P>"They're going to say, 'give us back our money!' Miss Chrissy." <P>"That's exactly right. See how well you listen when you want to?"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 4:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
god, christina - will you come and work for <BIG><BIG>ME??????!!!!!</BIG></BIG><P> Image<P>only thing is, i have always been taught and accepted that, having more than 5 in the class at this age, is not really acceptable.....<P>actually i'm NOT criticising you, because it is apparent from everything you say, not just here in this thread, but elsewhere at the board, that you are a funloving organised respectful person who thinks about things and takes your responsibilities very seriously - so i'm sure YOU are fabulous at this, but *I* would never dare have more than ten (at the absolute outside) in a pre-school class......and i know i would be frowned on by my very knowledgeable experienced peers, if i did so, (just as we DO frown on other 'inferior' teachers here who DO that! Image )<P>i think these are great posts from everyone - i especially appreciated antoP's words, and christina's descriptions....very funny, and very true.<P>christina, you really DO sound like you are doing a wonderful job - but i just can't imagine this, with all those kids - i guess it's just not what we do, here....<P>basheva, just for interest, the standard (here) is half an hour only for 3,4,5,6 year olds, and at 7, 45 minutes...<P>none of this is ballet - only 'pre-ballet' as one feels obliged to call it, for the parents' sakes - but really it is just general movement and social concepts, music enjoyment, etc.... <P>i completely agree with someone above, who said that they will never be 'behind' for starting later - anything up to age 10, say, will NOT disadvantage them AT ALL, as they need certain intellectual and emotional maturities to take in and to develop physical competencies, and these come later...sure, some kids can get it sooner, and sure, they look cute - but it's all un-necesary, and risks burnout before they are of an age to really progress (in terms of a career). <P>of course, if one is purely talking in terms of enjoying age-appropriate social behaviour in a group, then anything goes....but this DOES veer towards 'child-care' or babysitting.....whatever.... - i wouldn't stop anyone doing what they want, in this regard - except that i agree that far too many parents are far too pushy! let them be kids! - but i DO think people should be realistically aware of what can be accomplished, and of what it is appropriate to accomplish, and of balancing up the rest of life with dance.<P>what an interesting thread this is..thanks all..... Image <p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited January 09, 2001).]

_________________
<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 5:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I can't think of any classes here that are for half an hour. By 6 or 7yrs old, class is one hour. <P>What I think is really a truly bad concept is when the very young children are given a class - either 45 min. or an hour - and within that time the class is divided up between ballet, jazz and tap. These really small children are expected to change shoes, vocabularies, etc. within the space of 45 min or an hour. Adults have trouble with that.<P>And, it is extremely popular here - parents adore it. They think they are getting triple value for their money. It's a big money-maker for the studios. I think the teacher loves it because it takes those tiny tots the greater part of class time - just to change their shoes.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 6:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Dortmund, NRW, Germany
Rabbit, I'm wondering about your topic. Just before you wrote this, I discovered your posting from sept. 2000 with this exciting "learning goals: age 3 years". When you reach these goals at that age: that would be great!<P>Rabbits goals for 3 years old students: <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000128.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000128.html</A> <P>I mean this can't be "just babysitting"!<BR> <BR>At the other hand I understand what you mean. Fortunetly I am not teaching this age (as a man I'm not teaching any class under 10 years) but I see my teachers sometimes struggling.<P>Dance teachers like to see results (in dance technical terms) and that's not so visible as it is with 7 years old students.<P>So why are we teaching these young ones.<P>1) what is said already before: when you don't do it, parents are going somewhere else with there children and will not come back at the golden (motorical) age of 7 - 8 years. When you are the only school in town, yes, then you could afford this. But still, to me it don't seem the right decision.<P>2) I don't think we should think in physical skills. I mean walking, running, skipping, leaping and so on is fine and importent. Important for this age is - I think - the development of the "vitality affects". (I hope this is the right english notion) A guy named Daniel Stern wrote some books about this. In rabbits topic you will find vitality affects in point 23) energy and dynamic skills: light versus heavy. Together with the development of the musicality and phantasy and, and, and ... you will lay a wonderful basic for later. I like to speak about "leaving traces".<P>3) What does dance means to the children (when they are 3 years old)? I'm not sure if this question is already been asked , but what alternativs do parents have for their children at that age? Do you think sports is better, or playing music, or should they stay at home. Whatelse could be importent for the development - coordination, body-awareness, social-awareness - of children? Okay, playing and Kindergarten is importent. But I'm sure, there is no alternativ for dancing.<P>4) Perhaps it's better to take a sabbatical year after 3 - 4 years teaching. I mean , it's really hard.<P>To come to the point: for me, teaching this age is no waste of time<BR> <A HREF="http://www.moderndancecenter.de/Images/babysitting3.jpg" TARGET=_blank>http://www.moderndancecenter.de/Images/babysitting3.jpg</A> <P>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 11:23 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Grace -- you sound like a doll to work for. Just say when and where. <P>As to class size -- I just took in as many as the school administrator gave me. For some reason, those classes just grew and grew. I think 10 is a real fun number. But 25 has been do-able -- for me. When class size got that big, I just strutted around the room, snapping my fingers like MC Hammer and chanting "Just too old, just too old to scold, baby!"<P>Somehow it works. I've employed other things -- composing and singing songs, communicating back and forth in sign language, and lots of pantomime and story telling. We have done TONS of fairy tale dancing. I have as much fun -- like beckoning in a shrill voice, "Beauty, come here -- I've got a lovely spindle to prick your finger on!" Then when the kids 'prick' their finger and outdo each other with their spinning and fainting, you can let 'em sleep it off on the floor and grab a cup of coffee next door to the studio til you're ready to go back and face them again. JUST KIDDINGGGGGGGG! <P>I think maybe you have to be something of an overgrown kid yourself to teach. Although I can promise you, there's no one stricter on the planet than Miss Chrissy. If you don't believe me, just ask the kids who have to play the wicked stepsisters week after week as reward for behaving like hooligans ...<P><BR>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 11:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
I havent' read through the entire thread, but though I would "put my two cents in". <BR>The risk of "burnout" for a teacher at this age group is high. It requires a lot of imagination and energy. I know because I've done it off and on for years!!!<BR>Developmentally, it's important for kids at this age to move and explore. Whether it's called "dance" "play group", "gym", is moot. I think all those developmental movments, creeping, crawling, later skipping, galloping, sliding have been proven to be important for healthy development, both physical and intellectual. Sometimes it can feel like "play" to us adults, but with kids, play and learning can often go side by side. I think if you "have fun" with the class, they will "have fun" as well, and it will probably be a worthwhile activity. Often the parents don't approach it very seriously, sending the kids to class in tutus, with wands, dolls, toys,,,,blah, blah. It's up to the teacher to "eduate" the parents as to the importance of dance. I pass out a sheet to parents at the beginning of session, highlighting develpmental issues I mentioned above, in the hopes that all will approach with like minds. some do, some don't . If you feel "at your wits end", may be time to take a break and teach another age group for a while. The problem is that often these classes are our biggest "moneymakers", ie , most enrollment...and often, if you have your own studio, there's no one else available to do it...you just have to use your judgement , I guess!!


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 12:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I would like to see your opinions to what I mentioned above - the use of teenagers to teach this level? Do you deplore it as much as I do? I don't mean as an assistant - but for a teenager (16-17 yrs.) to have total responsibility for the baby class.<P>I can't think of any case locally where the owner of the studio actually teaches these baby classes - unless it is a dire emergency. It is almost always turned over to a teenager. Sometimes this is done in exchange as payment for her own classes.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 12:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 76
Location: BC , Canada
My point in this is that there is nothing in a creative movement or Pre-dance class that a child can not get in another movement program IE: Kindergym.<P>Pet Peeve: When parents are led to beilieve that by entering their children into these kinds of programs they will be giving them a "headstart" on technical dance study.... there is a misconception out ther that in order for a dancer to "make it" as a professional they must begin very early.<P> As was stated before...a child who does these programs at three has no greater chance than a child who begins older.<P>Thus the program can be seen as a scam...<P>Now that is not to say every one who runs these programs is dihonest....When it is clear that these are an activity for the pre-school set and not Dance training. It can be a wonderful experience for child and parent alike....there are some fantastick programs out there.... I have a fantastic program myself.<P>Here comes the However.<P>However: when I get an enrolment call from a parent who professes to me that their 10 yr old child has been dancing for seven years.... That this child has been in training since she was three...that she should be in a higher level in my studio than say, my students who have been dancing since age 7 (so they have been dancing for 3yrs) Do you see where I am going with this?<P>OK sorry have to run & pick up kids from school will finish this thought later tonight...again this is not a finished post,<P>Rabbit

_________________
<BR>Ramona Hartley<BR>


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group