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Teaching Children Dance-Lesson 1

Begin a class on the floor in a circle. The purpose for this set up is to get them to calm down and prepare for class. For young children under the age of 5 the circle work best . The circle is great for children to learn socialization skills and cooperation. It gives them an opportunity to interact with their peers and you the instructor.

A favorite of the children is a rhythm and timing game called “Please Please Say Your Name”. This a game that serves multiple purposes and works best with a group of 12 or less. With more children it takes up a lot of time during the class.  The first purpose is to get them to duplicate the beat. I keep the beat the same for a while (8 pats of both hands on Indian style folded legs rapidly) and it changes after they master it.

Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference if they master it or not, they don’t care because they like it so much they want to do it over and over and over again. And you know what I let them because the more they do the things they like the more cooperative they are when it’s time to do things I need them to do like learn choreography or build skills like walking on a balance beam, leaping over objects or learning ballet terminology and executing the steps.

The last purpose of this game is to get them with being comfortable with speaking in front of a group of people. Public speaking is the number one fear of people so if we can get them comfortable with this early this helps them in later years when they are older and have to present projects in front of the class. This also helps with children that are really shy and soft spoken.

Each child has a turn to say their name and after every name we clap and applaud them before going to the next person. You should see how they beam and take the applaud and cheering in. This gives them a feeling of appreciation and acceptance, a very important component to self esteem.

This is also a great game to use for circle time or transitional times in preparing for lunch,  bathroom or other transitional times during your day. You can change it from name to their age. Play with it and make it your own and see what you can come up with.

I ‘d love to hear what you come up with and feel free to share your ideas with us.

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