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Teaching Children: Giving Your Child A Head Start

I had an interesting experience the other day. I was teaching at a school that I have been a consultant for since the early 90s. This school highly values education and appreciates and embraces different techniques to accomplish that goal. I was teaching their 2 1/2 to 3 year old group.

I had given them some choreography to a song from Nickelodeon’s Diego soundtrack. I had only shown the children this choreography one time  as it was very new and I just wanted to see what they would be capable of doing. So this week I started working on it again and an amazing thing happened.

I had started doing different movements to the song and the children didn’t follow me this time. They did the original steps that I had shown them the first time. Wow I said out loud you guys remember the steps that I showed you last week!

Now you may not think that this is a big thing so let me give you a point of reference. The class is a short one 20-25 minutes long. Choreography(dance steps to a song or music) is usually introduced towards the end of the class. It is done that way for a purpose because I want that to be one of the last things they remember from class.

It is done this way because usually I only see the children once a week so that’s a whole seven days that they have to remember something. And remember these children are 2 1/2 – 3 years old. I have been teaching children since the early nineties and had never had this experience before. Where I would show children in this age group  something once and they would remember it a whole week later.

So I stopped dancing with them and asked them could they do the dance by themselves. Yeeeeeeeeesssssssssss Ms. D’TaRelle they sang back to me.  So I started the music and watched. Although the counts weren’t exactly right they remembered  what movements went with certain parts of the music and also the sequence of the steps. I was truly amazed and thought about it all afternoon. Then it hit me.

This group of children I had taught from infancy or as young toddlers around 14 months until  they go upstairs to the 2 class room. Because of this experience they were accustomed to the format of the class and had been working their memorization skills before. I am sure that the fact that they loved the song had a lot to do with it too. I make sure of that because it makes choreographing a lot easier as well as the children performing it.

The main thing is that the ground work for providing a strong foundation in learning had been solidly put into place. The connections in the brain made so that furture learning in this area and similiar areas occur quicker and smoother because the foundation previously laid. It’s like paving streets so that people can get around better in a town. 

Providing experiences like this for your child gives them a head start in learning. In addition they are happy, develop emotionally, socially as well as physically and mentally. Studies have shown that happy people are less likely to get sick. So activities like these help to develop smart, fit and happy children. In addition studies have also shown that students who participate in dance out-perform their peers on the SATs by 87 points.

Please feel free to share your experiences with me. Your questions and comments are welcomed.

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