For first time dance parents or parents of preschool aged children, starting an organized activity such as ballet, preschool, soccer, etc. with your little one can be overwhelming. Just trying to get everyone out the door and in the car is a major victory somedays, right? I am a mom of 3 kiddos and want to answer some of our frequently asked questions from a parent perspective for you!
My child is shy or gets easily overwhelmed. What if he/she won’t go in without me? This is completely normal! I was extremely shy as a little girl and my mom put me in dance to "bring me out of my shell" (see you never know what activities God will use in your child's life!). Please rest assured that we deal with this A LOT and sometimes there may be a few tears at first. Usually once mom or dad is out of sight and we get them dancing, they quickly forget and have so much fun! If they continue to cry and be upset after a few minutes, we will bring them to you. It does take trust on the parents part, but know that they are in a loving and encouraging environment and we will do our very best to make them feel comfortable and secure.
Also don't be discouraged if all they do is watch class and not move/dance at all during the first few classes. Usually they just need to see what we're doing, think about it at home, and after a few times they will join right in. Some students take longer to warm up than others and that is perfectly fine with us! We love giving them the space to feel comfortable and grow in their confidence!
My child may have some separation anxiety…can I sit in the classroom? Just like the timid child, having some anxiety about being away from mom or dad is completely normal. Our goal for the little ones is to get them ready for a classroom setting that they will have in preschool or church: learning to follow directions, listening to the teacher, being aware of others, taking turns, sharing, and building confidence…these are all important goals in their development along with our dance goals. If a child is consistently having a hard time being away from mom or dad, it may be a good idea to wait and try again when they are ready.
Another reason we do not have parents sit in the dance room during class is that it is a distraction and often children's behavior changes when they have an audience. We want to help our students practice the habit of attention and most of our Twirl dancers are still learning. So the more we limit distractions, the more dancing, learning, and fun we will have together!
Is my child going to be learning REAL dance or just froo froo? The answer is both! For our TWIRL program, our goal is that the dancers have FUN and want to continue coming to dance year after year. If you poll our high school intensive dancers, many of them started when they were very young. The reason they are STILL dancing is not because it was serious and they learned the correct terminology at a young age, it’s because they fell in love with dance and ENJOY it. We do want our toddler dancers to learn the ballet basics and simple terminology, but we also mix in creative movement and use props to spark their imaginations while working on coordination and grace. Because of our knowledge of child development and experience with teaching this age group, our program is one of the most well-balanced, age-appropriate dance programs you’ll find!
How can I set my child up for success?
Being on time to class is KEY! If a student walks in late and the class has already started, it can be harder for them to walk in and join on their own, and it's also disruptive to the class when the door is opening and closing. Being a few minutes early will also give you time to take them potty and get their shoes on so they are ready for class! Also talk to your child about what dance class is; look up some children’s dance videos on YouTube. Seek out not only videos of polished performances, but ones taken during class, with the camera angle set low, from a child’s perspective. And please label each of their shoes with their name!
For Twirl Combo, which shoes does my child need first?
Have your dancer come in their ballet shoes first, then we will change into tap shoes for the last portion of class. If you leave during class (please see bathroom policy below), please leave your child's shoes right inside the door (it is so helpful for us if they have tap shoes that are velcro and don't need to be tied). If you stay at the studio, we will bring your student out to the lobby so you can help get their shoes changed quickly so we can get right back to dancing!
What if they need to go to the bathroom? Do I need to stay during their class?
If your child is not able to go to the restroom by themselves (this includes getting their leotard and tights on and off on their own), the parent needs to remain in the lobby just in case their dancer needs to use the restroom during class. Teacher assistants can escort students to the restroom and bring them back to class, but will wait outside the restroom door (not the stall door) and will not be able to help them get dressed. If your child is able to go to the restroom completely by themselves, you may leave to run an errand or go to The Perfect Blend while your student is in class.
What are the Tickets for?
For our 2-4 year olds we give dum dums or stickers as rewards at the end of class time for listening to the teacher and doing a great job dancing. For our 4-6 and 5-7 year olds in combo classes our teachers give tickets for good behavior. If they save their tickets (we suggest a little ziploc in their dance bag) they can trade 10 tickets in for a piece of candy or 100 in for a bigger prize. Tickets carry on from year to year so they can use tickets from last year. Tickets can be traded at the front desk!
We are SO excited to watch each child blossom and flourish this year! And we are so honored that you chose Turning Pointe. Our prayer is that we will ignite a passion for dance and the arts and a heart for worship that will last a lifetime in each of these precious ones!
We'll see you beginning Tuesday, September 4th (Monday classes have their first class Sept 10th).