You are dying to sign your tiny dancer up for dance class, but how do you know if your little one is ready to go or if you should wait a bit longer? We ask several questions when we’re trying to assess dancer readiness. Here they are:
- Is your dancer expressing interest in dance class? Maybe they are begging you to dance, or they talk about being a ballerina all the time.
- Does your child watch television or movies and follow along with the movement? This is another way your dancer is expressing interest, but it also demonstrates an ability to pick up choreography and follow directions.
- Can your child follow three simple instructions in a row? For example, “Put your bag on the green line, find a colored star on the floor, and sit criss-cross-applesauce.” Participating in dance class requires a certain level of cognitive and physical development, and the ability to follow a series of instructions indicates a developmental milestone has been met.
- Can your child spend at least 10 minutes at a time doing an activity? This demonstrates an attention span that’s ready to absorb some dance. Does your child play with their cars or splash around at the water table for at least 10 minutes at a time, or is their attention span such that they constantly switch activities from one minute to the next?
- Can your dancer put on/take off their own shoes? Don’t worry, we’re going to help your dancer with their shoe changes, but an ability to put on/take off their own shoes demonstrates a level of physical coordination that can indicate dance readiness.
- Does your child use language to express themself? It’s pretty important that your dancer is able to communicate their needs and wants to their teacher. If your dancer uses words that are easily understood outside of your own family, then this can indicate dance readiness.
- Is your child comfortable without you? If your child spends time with grandparents, a babysitter, or in a daycare, then the answer here is yes. For many of our Twinkle students, dance class is their first adventure without mom or dad. It’s normal for a child to be clingy or even cry for several weeks before deciding dance class is a blast, but if your dancer is wrecked absolutely every time you leave without making any progress from week to week, then it might mean waiting for a few months and trying again.
These are the seven indicators we use to help assess whether or not a tiny dancer is ready for dance class. However, if your dancer didn’t ace them, it’s possible they’re still ready for dance- we’re looking for a majority here.
Keep in mind that dance is a family activity, especially at the beginning. Once you’ve determined your dancer is ready for class, you must decide if YOU are ready. While your dancer doesn’t need a perfect score to join dance, everything on the following “parent readiness checklist” is non-negotiable, so make sure you can check each box below with 100% certainty. If not, consider waiting a little longer until you’re ready too; we want your dancer (and you!) to have the best possible experience in dance!
√ You are happy to bring them and commit time and finances to the cause.
√ You will encourage your dancer with music and movement in your home.
√ You are able to help your dancer get the right dress-code approved gear and get them ready every week, hairstyle and all.
√ You will make the time to park, take your dancer to the bathroom, help them into their first pair of shoes and calmly arrive 5 minutes EARLY to class. (Not 10, not 40, not 3 minutes late. Five minutes early is where the real magic happens.)
√ You will read all communication and stay informed with the school by joining and checking the app as well as reading one email per week (sent on Mondays)
√ You will trust the curriculum and you promise not to ask for a more advanced class placement for your child. We are experts, and we’ll get your dancer advancing, we cross our hearts.
√ You are happy to KISS AND GO. You are comfortable enough to walk away from the window so you do not distract your dancer, other dancers, or the teachers by waving and filming from outside.
We are so excited to be a part of your dance journey, whenever that may be!
Originally Published by Elevate Dance Online. Edited and shared with permission.