Teaching children to dance can be incredibly fun and rewarding. However, a dance instructor must learn to set expectations, encourage students to keep trying, and respectfully conduct themselves.
Children are sensitive because they are still growing—both physically and emotionally. When conducting a dance class for children, here are some things to remember:
1. Knowledge is the teacher.
As the dance instructor, you are the pillar of knowledge and the guiding force of your students. As a teacher, you must know what to say, when, and how to say it. When you set yourself as an example, your students will follow.
2. Keep things familiar.
Children, especially younger ones, like what is familiar, so repetition is essential. Additionally, you can also make dance more engaging by using songs they are very familiar with.
3. Provide “free time.”
Divide your sessions into learning time and free time. Use the learning period to help students become familiar with dance moves and their principles.
After lessons, use free time to let them experience their expectations of dance. This step means letting them run, jump, etc.
4. Always use their name first when talking to the student.
Children respond faster when they hear their names called out. Instead of saying their names after giving out instructions, consider saying their words first to grab their attention. Remember to be gentle but firm with your tone.
5. Encourage fun.
Children learn through play. While we can’t always “play” during lesson time, we can still make them entertaining by being creative, keeping a positive attitude, and encouraging children to learn slowly and steadily.
Takeaway: Teaching dance to children comes with responsibilities and expectations. These tips are taken from the “Petrinovic Training Technique Manual for Teachers and Dance Educators.”
Through a holistic approach of incorporating science with dance, you’ll find that teaching aspiring dancers will be easier and more empowering. To learn more about these tips, visit the website at https://rpm.dance/ and become RPM certified.