DAYCARE & OSC
Dance has tremendous benefits for young children. It helps develop cognitive skills, memory power, and patience among young kids. However, conducting dance classes and handling the choreography for tiny tods is a tumultuous task requiring enormous energy and management-interaction skills.
The dynamic setting of a dance class can make teaching a daunting affair, especially when the learners are little kids. However, the key is to grasp the developmental stage the young dancers are in and adapt the choreography and teaching technique to align with them. So, without further ado, let us look at some essential tips and tricks that can make dance choreography for kids easier.
Before we delve into the secrets of curating the perfect dance choreography for kids, it is vital to dabble into why dancing is essential for children!
• Dancing promotes neurological development in children. • It improves balance among young learners. • Dancing develops spatial awareness, as children are able to gauge the space around them better, resulting in prompter awareness and judgment. • Dancing helps children become more creative and facilitates their pattern-recognizing abilities. • Moreover, dancing fosters discipline, patience, perseverance, and communication skills. • Lastly, dancing improves the memory of little ones.
Now that we know the benefits of dancing for children let us look at the top tips for teaching dance choreography to kids.
Below are ten foolproof tips that will help you deal with children’s short attention spans and behavioral challenges and teach them dance routines effectively.
A common mistake in teaching dance routines to young children is spending too much time on a single activity. Kids (even adults) do not have a long attention span. Thus, ideally, two minutes is about as long as you should stretch one activity before moving on to the next. In addition, make sure that the dance class is no longer than 45 minutes. If there are more than eight kids in the class, it is better to get an assistant.
Kids between the ages of three to eight love moving around and having fun in dance class. However, you cannot expect them to remember an extensive choreography. The movement grasping capabilities of children vary with age, and your choreography should reflect that variation. For instance, five to six years have a better understanding of movements than toddlers, but they cannot grasp routines as well as grade school children. Likewise, the book ‘Teaching Children Dance’ opines that students in kindergarten through second grade should be able to perform elements of dance and describe dance movements in general terms. Third through fifth-grade children should be able to grasp various choreographic structures, describe others’ movements via simple dance terms, and reproduce choreography with multiple sequences. Thus, the key takeaway is that you should customize the dance routine of kids as per age. Brief choreography with basic moves is best suited to children between the ages of five and six.
Children between the ages of three to six are learning to express their thoughts and make independent decisions. Thus, to teach them choreography, it is good to offer opportunities for decision-making. For instance, you can tell the kids to choose between slow/fast-paced dance routines, happy/sad music, and much more. Such flexibility and choice allow children to exercise agency and regard the dancing activity as something of their own.
You must turn up the energy in the dance by giving kids plenty of chances to laugh and giggle. Once they begin laughing and having fun, they all come alive, and the class becomes interactive. It also becomes much easier to teach choreography to an interactive class.
Young kids have to learn not just specific movements but also how to move in time with the music. Therefore, for a successful choreography, you should prioritize strengthening the children’s sense of rhythm and ability to match their movements to different speeds. Such an approach also conditions for more advanced classes.
Children need structure to thrive and excel in a dance class. For instance, choreographer Jenny Duffy notes that songs and movements are often used in kindergarten classes to signal when it’s time for the children to shift from one activity to another. She recommends using a similar approach when creating choreography for little kids. It is essential to remember that using the same movements during the chorus of a song makes it easier for kids to learn the routine and also polishes their musical skills.
It is imperative to explain all the dance steps in a step-by-step fashion to the kids. The explanation has to be clear and cater to different children. In addition, you have to teach the dance routine in the three primary learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (movement). If you are not explaining it precisely as you are doing the steps, you may miss out on reaching some children.
Remember to build confidence in young kids. You should explain to them that it is absolutely all right to make mistakes. In fact, mistakes are the stepping stones to success. In addition, you also make it clear that you do not expect the kids to perfect the dance regimen in the first class, and it may take some time before they are comfortable with the movements and steps.
Always remain on the lookout for things that are being done well in the class, and make sure to mention them time and again. In addition, looking for a child doing a step correctly and appreciating them is an excellent way to encourage model behavior.
You have to reward the children for a successful choreography. Positive reinforcements, such as stickers, stars, etc., make all the difference when teaching dance to young kids. Five to six-year-olds respond much better to praise, and criticism of the way they are performing should be used sparingly and subtly.
So, there we have it, the top tricks to teach choreography to children.
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