How to teach Preschool Dance class – part 1.
When people ask me how to teach Preschool Dance class, the first thing that comes to mind is place markers. When I think about teaching Preschool Dance without some method of marking out where the children stand, it just makes me shiver! Definitely NOT for me. So first up, what can you use for the children to stand on and why is it so important that they have a ‘place’ in the studio. As far as what you can use, it depends on your budget and how you would like your room to look. For a more deluxe option, you could consider mats like these.
Another option is poly dots like these.
The importance of place markers – entering the room
When it comes to how to teach Preschool Dance class, there are several key phases that are vital for success. The first is entering the room. Many kids will be shy or not want to leave their caregiver when it is time to come into the studio. This is completely understandable. Apart from anything else, studios re often large spaces which can seem overwhelming to young children. The place marker provides the dancers with a sense of security, a place to go, it breaks a big step, saying goodbye and entering the room into a smaller manageable step, finding your place. As the weeks pass you can aim to have a little entering the room routine
- Come in and put your drink bottle and sicker book against the wall
- Find your mat
Place markers as a replacement for lines
Older children are able to form lines and stay in them (more or less) for the duration of the class. However, a preschool dance class is an entirely different kettle of fish. They are still learning skills such as lining up, making a circle, maintaining space, not touching other children. Place markers solves ALL of these problems. Because, your mats or dots are spaced out in prearranged lines, the children will be too. They can beginto learn what it feels like to dance in a line, what it feels like to maintain their space and what it means to have your own personal space. All this, without you having to constantly remind them to space out or not stop hitting such and such. For me, place markers in preschool dance class bring order to the class and allow me to focus on teaching rather than crowd control. Of course, place markers are not confined to lines, If you prefer to teach in a circle, just arrange your mats or dots accordingly.
Place markers and locomotion
Once the warm up and centre work phase of your class is over, its time to move across the floor, preschool dance style. Once again, place markers save the day. As you prepare to move across the floor, you can have the students pick up their place maker and put it away – another valuable skill. Then you can take a couple of markers and set up your pattern. So for example, you might have a mat in each corner, or you might have 3 mats across the room, one to line up behind, one to do a little twirl in the middle of fairy runs and one to finish on. A 3 mat set up like this allows for many learning outcomes.
- Line up behind the first mat mat.
- Do fairy runs to the middle mat
- Make a little pose – it can be anything you like
- Run to the last mat and say hello to the Princess
- Sit down with your back to the wall.
There are so many valuable skills to be learned in a sequence such as this. At the start of the year, the children will need reminding as they will most likely not be developmentally ready to follow so many instructions, but as the year progresses, these skills will develop. Not only are they learning fairy runs, but also to line up, to wait your turn, to carry out a list of instructions, to creatively think up a pose and to sit quietly and be a good audience when their turn is over.
At the end of the locomotion section of the class you may incorporate a free movement section. For example you may play with the pom poms or do creative movement. Here you can say good-bye to your place markers and the children can move freely.