“For many families a preschool ballet class will be the first experience their child has in any type of class. This will be a new and exciting experience! You and your child may feel a bit nervous as well. If this is your first day bringing your child to a ballet class make sure you are relaxed. If you are, you will help your child be more relaxed as well. Talk about the class in a fun way to get your child excited! To make your transition easier I will explain what you may expect during a preschool ballet class in order for you to fell more prepared.

At the Beginning of Class

Make sure you are prepared to let your child go into the room all by him or herself. I think this is a very difficult thing for a parent. From my experience, sometimes parents are more nervous about letting their child go into a class by themselves than the child is.

Let your child feel independent by going into class all by themselves.  Preschoolers like to feel they can do something all by themselves. I know that this is difficult. You are handing your child off to someone you don’t know and will have a lot of questions going through your mind. Will you like the teacher? Will your child like the teacher. Is the teacher good? Will my child listen? Will they be too shy?

Try your best to trust the teacher and give them the benefit of the doubt.  If you or your child does not like them you can always try someone else the next time. On the positive side you and your child will most likely really like the teacher. Your child hopefully will have a great time and learn quite a bit!

If your teacher has a lot of experience trust their teaching methods.  I don’t always correct every little thing with my students. If a child is not listening I will try my best to think of fun ways to get their attention but I understand that it might take a few weeks for a child to understand how to behave in a class. They will figure it out little by little each week. I know if I constantly correct a student on their listening ears, class will drag and it won’t be fun for anyone. Classes can easily go on a downward spiral that way. The same can happen when teaching steps. Preschoolers should learn through fun and creativity and not through drilling steps. Trust that your teacher has a plan and that by the end of your session the children will be listening and have learned many fun steps and dances! Therefore don’t feel that you have to tell your child to listen or point their toes during class. Unless your child is a big distraction let the teacher teach. If you have a concern definitely speak with your teacher after class.

Can I Watch the Class?

Whether parents can stay to watch a dance class will depend on where you are taking class. Keep in mind that children do behave better in a class where there are little distractions. If you stay in the class there is a better chance that your child will leave the class often to ask you for any number of things. Once one child does this other children will follow and then the teacher needs to work that much harder to get the class to listen.

If your teacher lets the parents watch in the dance room please remind your child to stay in the class and listen. Also do not feel that you have to remind your child to listen or point their toes etc while they are with the teacher as I have mentioned above. Sit quietly and allow the teacher to do their job. If you have a younger sibling with you make sure they have something quiet to do or wait outside the room. Don’t let little sister or brother wander through the class no matter how cute they are!

Some dance studios have a one way mirror or window so parents can watch class without being in the same room with the students. This is an ideal situation. However not all studios have this luxury. In my Wish Upon a Ballet classes we teach most of our classes in community programs. Therefore our space options are very limited. If we can, we will leave the door to the dance room open so that parents can view the class. If it does become too distracting however we will have to close the door. All of our classes do end with a performance. This way, parents can see what we have been working on all session. We don’t want to shut parents out at all. We just know that children listen best when they can focus on their teacher and we want to teach the best class we can to your little ones!

Do I Need to Stay for the Class?

Whether or not you need to stay for the class will be up to each instructor. For my classes parents are free to run a quick errand during class if their child has used the bathroom and they remember to be back right when the class is over. Why not use this time for yourself if you would like! Take a break and let the teacher take over for 45 minutes!

What will my Child Learn?

Preschoolers can learn to identify the very basic ballet steps. However they will not be able to correctly execute them until they have studied for a long time. They will probably learn 1st position maybe 2nd position. They might also learn plié and relevé. It is great if they learn a few basic steps however I hope as a teacher they also learn how to express themselves better using their bodies.  I hope they learn what they are capable of and to try new things! They should also learn how to be in a class to prepare them for school! Things such as sitting quietly when the teacher is talking and raising their hands when they want to speak. These are all very important aspects of a class. Don’t worry too much about what specifically they are learning however. There is plenty of time for that. At this age what we really want to give them is the freedom of expression and the love of movement!”

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Sourced from Wish Upon a Ballet.