To most, a pre-dance class looks like a grown up galloping around and playing games with a group of 4 year olds. Ask the dance teacher, though, and they’ll tell you it’s so much more. Dance teachers know that it’s the beginning of a dancer’s training that matters the most. This is when our littles fall in love with dance, music, art and expression. It’s tempting to wait to sign your little one up for dance class until they’re at the age where they’re learning “real” skills. Why pay all that tuition for your three year old to gallop around with a sparkly ribbon for half an hour? Why drive to class every week for a whole year just so your little one can get on stage for two minutes next June? Why not save your money and time for when they’ll actually listen? Makes sense on the surface, but when you dive a little deeper into what our kids are actually experiencing in preschool dance class, you’ll quickly learn that preschool age dance classes are so important. Not just for future professional dancers – for all kids!
So, what are your kids actually learning when they’re pretending to dance like a flamingo or stretch like a mermaid?
Let’s talk about the obvious one first – they’re gaining strength, agility, flexibility and coordination every time they step foot into the studio. Those seemingly silly games the teacher is guiding them through have been meticulously planned to disguise basic dance techniques and principles in a way that makes them easily digestible for young dancers. Even if you doubt they’ll continue with dance as they get older, they’re learning basic body mechanics that they’ll carry with them forever. Muscle memory is REAL. Dance can help set up our kids for physical success later in life, no matter what they choose to do. Dance class is helping them develop gross and fine motor skills, proprioception and spatial awareness. All these major developmental skills will serve them well when they start or return to school!
Pre-dance classes are also helping your kiddos hone their creative skills. Creativity comes naturally to kids, so why not help them learn to harness those skills while it’s easy for them? If you’re not someone who values creativity, that’s ok! But think about this: creativity will translate to problem solving skills, critical thinking, individuality and innovation as they get older. Dancers are smart, and there’s a reason for that!
Young dancers are also learning the very basics of musicality – recognizing and keeping track of patterns and rhythms, labeling the mood of a specific piece of music and even just enjoying the music itself. Music (and of course dance) is a fundamental part of our being. The more aware we are of what we’re hearing and how it makes us feel, the easier we’ll be able to manage our own emotions as we grow older. And, if your little one ever takes up piano lessons or band class in school you’ll be glad they’re starting with a basic understanding of music.
Kids who have danced at a young age will also have an easier time transitioning into kindergarten. They’ve already learned all the basic early education expectations that their teachers will have for them: following directions, waiting in line, concepts of personal space, focusing on one task at a time, raising a hand to ask a question, the list goes on. I promise the teacher will thank you!
And here’s the cherry on top: your child is becoming more confident with every single dance class! It may seem like you’re waiting almost a whole year to see them really accomplish anything – that June recital seems so far away! But with every activity completed, every bow they take with their class, every curtsy to their teacher, every round of applause, every ounce of praise for having pointy toes – their confidence grows. Preschool dance class makes our littles more independent, more confident and happier!
Oh, and did I mention that dancing is FUN?
P.S. You can sign up here – you’re about to have some of the cutest pictures ever of your baby in dance class!
If you want more of an idea of what your little dancer might be learning – check out our Facebook page!