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Teaching Children Dance for 24 Years and Still Learning

I still feel the thrill of teaching dance to children that I felt back in 1986 when I saw this little cutie pie Dana walk by in a little lion costume. My own class had not started yet as I had gotten to the school early. The studio was all a buzz with all these little girls running around the studio in their costume for the  upcoming recital.

I felt transported to a fairy tale land. My heart was racing I was so excited they all just looked so adorable and I wanted to jump in on the fun.  Because every one else was so excited and bouncing all around, Dana caught my attention.

I walked over to her and sat down next to her. Hello I said. She did not look happy at all. What’s the matter I said? I don’t like this she said pulling on the costume. It was particularly uncomfortable around her face. Itchy was the word she used. Would you like for me to help you with it I asked. She agreed and I adjusted the costume so it would be more comfortable. Can you show me your dance? I like your lion clothes , it’s called a costume I explained to her.

After a bit of conversation she was showing me her moves and I showed her my dance and we played horsey and played and ran around the studio until it was time for my class.

My instructor noticing this mentioned that I should consider teaching that age group, they were between the ages of 3-5. I thought about it and how it did not seem like work to me only fun and play. I was amazed that people could get paid to have fun. I was also intimidated at the time as my degree was in Actuarial Science 180 degrees from Early Childhood Education.

Because of my love of children and dance and it being so much fun I read everything I could on child development. I also taught children at my church to start for free, Funk Aerobics and Fitness just to get my feet wet and also volunteered in the day care during church services to keep the kids engaged.

Twenty four years later I am still reading up on education, early child development, brain development and architecture in infants and music, movement and dance. I’ve since expanded my curriculum to use dance as a teaching tool for children to learn about their world, make learning fun and still get the benefits of a traditional dance class. The curriculum is also designed to supplement and compliment what they learn in school.

I am still amazed and thrilled. I learn new things from my students every day. They make me laugh and smile every day as they do their thing, learn and explore. They are able to do a lot more than when I first started teaching and are much more advanced. This keeps me on my toes with coming up with new ways to keep them engaged and challenged while still having fun and learning. But I would not change it for the world.

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