Tiny movers are such a joy to work with! They dance with an imagination and energy that is unique in their age group. They are excited to move, create, and most of all, have fun! By following these simple guidelines, you can create an effective, structured class with focused students while still allowing their creativity to run wild-
1. BRING THE ENERGY
Children will come into the classroom with energy at 110%, because they are SO excited for their favorite time of week-DANCE CLASS. It's your job, as the instructor, to be even more energized than them. If their energy is at 110% you have to find it inside of you to bring 120%. If your energy is lower than theirs, the classroom can begin to feel chaotic.
2. ELIMINATE GAPS
The 20-30 seconds it takes you to find the next song to use or set up props in the room could lead to the children becoming unfocused, and the more unfocused they become, the harder it can be to reel them back in for that activity. The goal should be no more than 10 seconds between transitions. You can keep transition time short in two ways. The first suggestion would be to have your music for that class on an individual playlist in the order you want to use it. Then all you have to do it hit "back", "next", or pause/play" which takes almost zero time. The second suggestion would be to have the kids help you set up props in the room OR use that time to let them use their imaginations and dance freely.
3. USE POSITIVE LANGUAGE
Children respond better when they are given options of things that they CAN do, so try changing your phrasing from "Do Nots" to "Dos". For example, instead of saying "Do not run in the classroom." Try saying "Let's walk carefully in the classroom" or from "Do not pick up your heels in a Demi Plié" to " Keep your whole foot on the ground in a Demi Plié" You'll be surprised the difference your wording makes.
4. PRACTICE SAFE DANCING
Creative Movement is designed for younger kids, which means all technique movements should be done in parallel. Their bones and muscles are not yet developed enough to hold and maintain a safe turned out position. If the kids in your class are over 8 years old, then once they understand the concepts in parallel, then they may begin to move into turned out. But please, ensure they are turning out by initiating from their rotator muscles in the hip joint. Please view my tutorial video on "Tips for Technique: Functional Turnout"
5. STAY ENCOURAGING
What you say to these kids now could potientially affect them for the rest of their day, or even their life, so make a positive impact. You have the opportunity to lead kids to the love of dance. Continuously remind them that they are beautiful, loved, and created in the image of God.
For lesson plan ideas, or the use of an overall curriculum for creative movement use Creative Movement: A Year of Biblically Inspired Creative Movement Classes for Tiny Movers.
ADMD- Creative Arts Specialist