Children benefit from the structure of class, social interaction, and the imaginative and physical activity.
Music, movement, imagination…
These classes consist of both ballet and tap. The first half of the class involves a series of progressively challenging tap dance exercises to develop coordination, body awareness, rhythm, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and listening skills.
The second half of the class involves lots of imagery and story telling to incorporate play into their ballet exercises. Listening skills, spatial awareness, movement, imagination and confidence are developed here and props such as colourful hoola hoops, ribbons, pompoms, and scarves are used to compliment and encourage movement and musical response. The foundation steps of ballet appropriate to their development are also introduced during each term. The children also often work in partners or in small groups to encourage cooperation and to develop social skills.
What to wear?
This is one of the most popular questions we get asked by new starters. The answer is simple. Allow your child to wear whatever they feel most confident coming to class in. Something they can move in and you don’t mind them wearing. On their feet they are best having an old pair of shoes that they can make a sound in and that you don’t mind getting a little bit scuffed.
Dance school uniform is available to buy at the studio on Satudays but we only reccomend buying this once you know your child is fully settled in their class.
One of the things you might notice is that a lot of children are very observant and do not like to be different from the other children. Please do not feel pressured to buy any of our uniform until you are sure that your child is happy with us at the dance school.
What to do if your child is too shy to join in
More often than not children find it hard to join in a class, they react by being withdrawn, by getting emotional, or by burying their head in their parents. Do not worry. This is normal! We are here to help. You might compare your child to the “perfect” student that comes in every week with anticipation and excitement, but let us reiterate that every child will go through this.
Remember that you are not alone and we’re here to help. All the teachers at RDA want more than anything is to have your child join in our classes. We want them to be excited, and we do not want you to feel stressed about the situation.
Here are some tips from our past experiences:
When you breathe you relax. Children can sense your tension and stress which leads to anxiety and uncertainty before class. Do not worry about what the teachers are thinking. We have seen it all before and it is more normal for a child to react like this than to enter class without being fazed.
Show your child how much you care, and affirm them, whether or not they enter the classroom. Your encouragement (without bartering!!) will lead to more confident children that are willing to join in class and practice at home.
We love when parents get involved and although it isn’t a long term solution, a parent joining in class with their child can help break down the barriers they put up until they are used to the other children and their teachers. It also shows that the activity is important to you and so it will be for them.
Avoiding missed classes and being late can really help with the anxiety they feel when entering class. At the start of lesson we sit down for a chat and register and it helps to calm the children. We have many assistant teachers in this class so we can spend extra attention to talk with those who are slightly more nervous.
Please do not give up after the first class if your child doesn’t seem to want to join in. As stated before, children have different coping mechanisms when they feel out of their depth. Give it a few attempts and if they still don’t seem to like it, then thats when you know dance isn’t for them. But secretly… we know they’ll love it!
Ask our staff for help!
When a student is afraid we want to help. You know your child best and we want to your insight. If you need us to hold your child’s hand through the entirity of class or if you just want us to let your child sit on the side and watch, we will do our very best to make your class experience what you and your child need it to be.
We know that every day is a learning experience for our students and we know learning isn’t always easy. We are here to help!
Where will my child progress after this class?
When your child is ready for the next step we have lots of classes to offer. From the age of 5 our students can start to perfrom in our shows which take place every two years and can take part in ISTD and RAD examinations. We naturally move our pre-schoolers up to the next Saturday freework/show work class but if you are interested in them starting examinations, please let us know.
It is a mammoth task to judge when a child is ready to move up to the next class. When doing this we have a lot of aspects to consider, which may not appear obvious to the children or parents.
Our classes are guided by age, however these really are a guide and are not set in stone. We watch each child develop and work out whether they would be more comfortable moving up or whether they are more likely to thrive to stay where they are for another few weeks. If this is the case, that doesn’t make the child wrong, behind, untalented, or unconfident. It doesn’t make them inferior to another child who is moving up. It simply means we feel they will be happier and get more out of the classes if they stay in the current class for a little longer.
Physical Abilty and Mental Understanding
Not all children develop at the same rate. Some children take longer to grasp key dance steps, or understand the disciplinary requirements to move up a class. If we do not take time to ensure that these are fully grounded they will have nothing to build on and are more likely to lose interest and give up.
This doesn’t just mean in performing but in communicating with friends, meeting and working with new people and confidence in new situations. Moving class can be a big change and we have seen the most confident children move class and become very shy.
One of the things that parents and pupils are most concerend about is when they do not move class at the same time as their friends. Whilst we do try and make sure that the children move up at the same time it is not always possible to keep ‘best’ friends or relatives together, especially when they are nearly a year apart in age.
This is something we really urge new parents not to worry about. We teach with a very inclusive attitude and so all students get to know each other. In most cases children thrive away from what is comfortable and can progress without becoming competitive.
These are just a few of the factors that we look for when moving children to the next step. Our decisions are always in the interests of the child, and a great amaount of care is taken to ensure that we are providing them with the best opportunities.
Want to find out more?
We can offer advice on what grade level your child would be better starting in. If you would like us to help with the perfect class choice please fill out this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
The Standish Centre,