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 Post subject: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 3:46 pm 
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this thread arose out of 'The Merits of Dance for 3 to 5 year olds':<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000304.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000304.html</A> <P>veering into this related area, the business of qualifications was raised - in the commonly raised sense of arguing paper qualifications VS. professional OR teaching experience VS. the ACTUALITY of who is a good teacher....and whether the 'proof' of a good teacher is the production of professional dancers. <P>i would like to throw in the idea that, in the case of THIS age group, qualifications are more important than with the vocational student (where professional stage/company experience may count for a lot), or even with the average recreational child student.<P>and i am talking about EDUCATIONAL qualifications - human development, child psychology, etc - not dance society ones (most dance societies don't cater to under 5's anyway).....so here is the 'other thread' opened just in case people wish to continue to talk about <B>what qualifies someone to teach this age group well?</B>

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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 3:54 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
As important as what Grace outlined above- I would think, would be a natural talent to deal with and inspire this age group. Those kinds of qualifications are fairly obvious; patience (endless LOL), imagination (like some of what Christina described, steadiness, ability to communicate with that age - and last but certainly not least - love, yes, love. Some people just love that age and it shows in their work.<P> I have found that when that magic combination is present, you can actually feel it when you walk into that teacher's classroom; whether it is a kindergarden or a "dance" class. And, in my opinion, nothing replaces it.


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 3:55 pm 
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couldn't agree more! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 4:00 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
I think that the teacher should be an adult, not just a teenager who is working off tuition expenses. The adult should have a desire to work with this age group, and a fairly good understanding of developmental ages and stages as fits this group. I remember one teacher who was a professional dancer with quite a lot of performance experience, but gave my five year old quite a hard time if she happened to get feet or arms wrong. One of the classes she was in was fairly large and they had to put a barre in the centre of the room with girls on each side. Now, this is absolutely fine for older students but if you're only 5 and are constantly looking at someone doing a mirror image of what you are doing it will probably mix you up. I always thought that they should put the younger ones against the wall to avoid this problem...<P>Choice of music can also make a considerable difference for the young ones. The person leading class should be familiar with the latest tunes from disney or whatever other source is popular with youngsters in that area. I don't think that the popular music should be the basis for the class, but a couple of choices or so in a class would probably be a good idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 4:03 pm 
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Location: Pa, USA
Grace--in your thread topic you wrote:<BR>"Who is qualified to teach 3-5 yo 'dance'?"<BR>well......probably no-one person is as qualified in all aspects as they should be, so perhaps no-one is ever truly qualified and this age should not be taught *S* (I'm of course teasing you!)<P>At the bottom of your post is probably the more important question of "what qualifies someone to teach this age group well?" There are a myriad of needs for this age student obviously, but the fact of the matter is you will often have a teacher who has no ability/training/understanding who is "cheaper" and another who is more "expensive" with sound knowledge of physiology, child psychology, first aid, age-appropriate behavior/ability level, etc. and the parents simply don't understand WHAT they should even be looking for in a "dance class" for this age and will make a choice based on economics rather than knowledge.<P>That stated, teachers of this group have a huge responsibility for these little ones. They should have some early childhood education/background and always first aid knowledge. They should be able to see beyond a child's whims/wants to a possible problem (child psychology into play here) and almost as importantly be able to see when the parent is hindering the child vs helping them. There is of course the need to be approachable from a child's standpoint as well. Not all of this is measurable in degrees or certification; and experience in dealing with other age groups of dance students is also a must and something you cannot gain without a long-term time commitment to your craft. <P>If you want a list of actual non-dance related degrees/certifications that would help in gaining knowledge to prepare oneself to teach this age group:<P>First Aid<BR>Child Psychology<BR>Pedagogy/Early Childhoold Development<BR>Physiology<BR>Pediatric Physical Therapist<BR>Educational (teaching) Degree/certification<BR>Musical background (instrumental or voice)<P>just some of my thoughts--I'm sure I will add more later!<BR>Jan


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 4:14 pm 
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good <I>START!</I> jan (and YES - i AM teasing YOU!) Image<P>i would like, however, to underline this one, from you:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BIG>always first aid knowledge</BIG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 5:45 pm 
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Jan - I just have to ask this: what does *S* mean? I have seen it in your posts several times.....


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 7:39 pm 
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that is just my quick way of sending a smile *S* or a sequin *S* or a sparkle to you reading my post Image


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 12:54 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Jan and Mom2 - your posts above are excellent and from two different perspectives - very useful.<P>I teach in several nursery schools - all of which are great and all of which are very different in character. I do have a favourite - which is the one I walk in to every week and the love just oozes out of the place. I know that sounds corny but it does. There is love and respect for the children, the staff, for learning and for the peripatetic teachers like me that come in. I feel I have learnt a lot of my pre-school skills from the way this nursery is run, just by observing their day-to-day way of life.<P>I also feel that agood teacher for this age group has to be able to listen well. Children this age want to tell you things about their lives and this will sometimes be in the middle of the class. With older pupils I would ask them to save it until later and we'll chat at the end but with that age group i feel it is important for them to talk then - there is plenty of time to instil the class discipline later on and often what the child wants to tell you is related to what you are doing in class anyway i.e. we were doing a butterfly exercise and one child started to tell us about a butterfly farm she had visited.<P>I do think their are certain people who just connect with this age group and have skills with them that cannot be taught - I know I enjoy the honest interaction that this age group brings. I also agree with Jan that there are skills that can be taught and that there are areas that all teachers of this age group should have an awareness of. Unfortunately in the UK unless you actually train the be a nursery teacher there are very few supplementary courses that can be studied.


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 1:00 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Mom2 - I forgot about the music - that was an excellent point in your post. It is important to choose music that the little ones react to. I have some CD's from an English lady who plays the Clarinova and they are beautiful all the chiuldren react wonderfully - an inparticular an 4 year autistic boy loved them and lit up every time they came on. I also have some tapes from a Scottish company called Sticky Kids and they are songs like Brown Girl in the Ring and The Whole World in his Hands and they change the words so that they are giving instructions for exercises e.g. The Whole World in his hands starts "We're going to clap our hands and clap them so, we're going to clap them high and clap them low". the pre-schoolers love them.<P>Current trends in the UK at the moment are some characters called The Tweenies (a bit like the Teletubbies if you have heard of them. They have just released an album and the kids go wild over that.<P>I find at that age children are open to most music and can interpet well.


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 6:32 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
The music is such an integral part of the whole - whether the class is including some sort of pre dance movement or just story telling. I once did an entire children's dance class (not the tots we are talking about) but a bit older, using children's nursery rhymes set to music. They just loved it!! And, so did I.<P>And, Joanne, you are very right there are some things that just can't be taught. Some people just have an empathy with very young children. One of the best I ever met was a man....and why not?<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited January 14, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 5:24 am 
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did i mention trevor dodd in that other thread? ( as a male teacher who was marvellous with little ones.) i think i did....<P>anyway, today as i was coming home, it occured to me that perhaps i should come in here and add, that the woman who i have just employed to teach the 3 to 7 year old classes at my school, has no qualifications at all, on paper!<P>she is in her fifties, and has been teaching this age group as an assistant to a good RAD teacher - for 14 years!<P>she is a parent and a grandparent - in fact her 2 granchildren will be joining the class. and i came across her by accident, when she enrolled in my adult ballet class. i noticed her neat presentation, her clear demonstration of basic steps, and her enjoyment of dancing. later on, in conversation, i learned a little of her background, and she jumped at the chance to teach these students, assuming that she would assist ME!<P>haha!<P>no way!<P>so i plied her with textbooks and videotapes and sample class tapes and syllabi, which she duly took home to refer to. a sleepless night or two later, she phoned me, and politely said "i'm a bit stressed by this task you've set me. can i come and talk...."<P>she arrived with the reference materials to return - having already paid them good attention, and her sample class already planned, with appropriate music selected. <P>i looked at a class plan every bit as good as any 'professional' or certified teacher could come up with, and laughed. she knows exactly what to do, but has little confidence in her abilities. she says the planning experience made her aware that for 14 years she did all these things, without thinking 'why' - and now, she is stimulated by realising what the children are getting out of each experience - even though she has already seen the evidence, for many years, she has never seen it written in a book.<P>it also developed, in conversation, that her own daughter went to 'baby ballet' with the very same trevor dodd, who i described in the other thread (and above) as the first fabulous teacher for this age-group who i ever came across (that was about 25 years ago).<P>this week she and i will sit down with her assistant, and talk our way through each exercise with the music - what we are doing and why...on saturday the two of them will give this class, with me in the background. i don't have any doubt that she will be marvellous, and can teach her assistant (an 18-year-old trainee teacher) a great deal.<P>so, as much as i began this post by talking about the value of qualifications, i agree completely that the 'right' individual matters just as much. i guess i got off on that bent, becuse i was seeking to establish that the output of professional dancers from a school was in no way an indication of whether 3 to 5 year olds would be well-served by that particular school. that 'professional' criteria is appropriate to apply to older students with vocational aims, but not to apply to finding a school for 3 to 5 year olds, IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 6:03 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Grace - exactly - exactly -<P>I knew a kindergarten teacher - probably one of the best I have ever come across who had no credentials of any kind, but she knew what she was doing, she loved doing it, and the children loved her.


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 8:13 am 
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Location: Oregon USA
Grace, I agree with you completely. I student teach for two teachers right now. The first has a dance degree and a teaching degree and has taken many classes on child psychology, first aid, the list could go on and on. The second teacher was an english major! She student taught for 1 year and became a teacher. Like the teacher Grace spoke of this teacher has no written qualifications but, she is a much better teacher than the first one I talked about. Teaching the little ones requires patience (a lot of it), enthusiasm and a love of dance, among other things. These things can't be taught in a class.


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 Post subject: Re: Who is qualified to teach 3-5yo 'Dance'?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: BC , Canada
While on this topic it occured to me to ask whether any of you teaching yourselves and especially in hiring teachers require them to be bonded.<P> It is Law in BC Canada, that any adult working in a school, pre-school or daycare must be legaly bonded. What this means is they have to submit to a background check..go to the local police authoritiies, get fingerprinted and disclose personal information.... this is to ensure that the individual you are hiring has no prior charges against them most particularly offences against children.<BR> (I believe this is even mandatory for the Boy scouts/girl guides etc.) <P>I think that this is equaly important to the safety of children as having an instructor with a first aid certification...and keeping that certification up to date. <P> Also I think that new to you instructors should be put on a probationary period and monitored closely.<P> It completely amazes me how here in Canada<BR>a person must me certified to be a doog groomer (I am not kidding) but just about anybody can freely teach dance. I do not suggest that a University degree is necesary but some type of accreditaion with a recognised association should be mandatory.<BR>I don't argue that it is not what makes the teacher;I have seen fantastic teachers without accreditation and atrocious ones with University degrees,, it simply seems to me that if the job is worth the doing it is worth doing right...and that an un-accreditied teacher would take the steps to attain some sort of accreditation if for no other reason than for their own peace of mind<BR> and credibility.<P> A story to share. <P> Once upon a time in a small community there was a teacher who ran several classes for the 3-5 yr olds, all of her classes were very large, she had a good heart, some dancing herself in her youth and a time assistant teaching, no Early childhood education to speak of...mostly a love of children and very good intentions.<P> All was going well, she carried on for years like this and from the outside looking in it seemed to be a wonderful program... the kids seemed to love her... the parents felt comfortable.<P> Until one day an ambulance was called to her studio..... a four year old was taken away and diagnosed with <BR>1) a broken arm <BR>2) a slight concussion.<P> After this incident there was a big scandal... things began to come out... children began to talk... the little girl in question was hurt doing a cartwheel unsupervised ... <P>Yes this teacher was trying to teach 3 & 4 yr olds to do cartwheels... they were doing grand plies too, she was attempting to teach them to do many things well beyond their physical ability.... her classes were too large and while she was working with some children others would frequently run around doing cartwheels and whatever.... (That was how the four year old was hurt).<P> She was a frequent screamer to maintain control and for the most part was very intimidating to the students--ruling with an iron fist..<P>Now parents were aware of this..some pulled their kids out in the early years, others simply thought that all of this was the correct way to teach these ages and that all dance teachers acted like imperious b*****s.<P> This is the worse case scenario..it is a true story....now this teacher in question truly had the best of intentions at heart, she loved working with children...she simply did not have the education, nor the experience.<P>...could this have happened with an accredited/educated teacher? Yes, it most certainly could , yet - the odds of that are slimmer as suuch a teacher would have the tools to avert such a situation from developing in the first place; so there is less likelyhood of having such a "Crime of Ignorance" occur'<P> So what happened.<P>..this teacher totally lost her business .<BR>..she felt very bad at the accident but has the attitude that "Accidents happen" and people over reacted...just sees it as an unfortunate incedent that resulted in her being unjustly held responsible.<P>- and this teacher is still teaching....in another town.<P> So will mandatory education, accreditaiton and monitoring keep other like situations from occuring...no, not completely but I believe it will make it safer and lessen the chances of these situations developing .<P>Rabbit<P> <P><BR> <P>[This message has been edited by Rabbit (edited January 15, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by Rabbit (edited January 15, 2001).]

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