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The Empowerment Of A Child: A Pitter Patter Feet Class

As I entered the school I noticed T. W. sitting off to the side by himself. Is T. W. in time out I asked his teacher, will he be able to take dance class today? No, T.W. isn’t in time out. His mother doesn’t want him to dance today he had an operation. An operation ?????!!!!!!! I asked perplexed looking right at him. T.W. is usually a ball of fire and energy, very expressive and spontaneous. This was one of the things that  tickled me about him and made him a joy and pleasure to teach.

Today though T.W. sat quietly in his chair just looking back at me waiting to see what I would say. His teacher explained that at 5 years old he had just been circumcised. Inside I cringed but maintained my composure because I could still feel him watching me. She went on to explain that  there were strict instructions for him to not move around so much. I looked at T.W. , his face was so sad. In looking at him though I got an idea. T. W. could still take class he just had to do it in his chair. I explained to the teacher that I would make sure to honor his mother’s wishes  to not move around so much and that T.W. would take the entire class  in his chair.

Before gathering the other children and going into the class room I told T.W. that he would be able to take class with us today and that he would be doing it in his chair. He looked at me puzzled. I explained to him that he would be dancing a liitle differently. He would still be moving his body to music and doing a lot of the things we were doing , the only difference is that he would do it from his chair. I told him he could do a lot from his chair and to prove it to him I asked him to show me all 6 ballet arm positions and name them as he did them.

HE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The expression on his face was priceless. He was elated! His whole expression changed and he was lit up like all the White House Christmas trees. With a big smile across his face we both celebrated. You see T.W. I told you, you could do it! Now lets go have that class. I gathered the other children and we went to class.

I carried T.W.’s chair, he walked into the classroom really, really slow as if he was a really old man rather than a 5 year old boy. He even hunched over as he walked.  I sat  T. W.  down in his chair and proceeded to do our rythmn and timing exercise that all the kids love “Please, please say your name”. We all sat on the floor and T.W in his chair. We pointed and flexed our feet to the “Toes Up Toes Down” song, T.W. pointed and flexed his feet from the chair. We rode on the train and T.W. pretended to be on the train too. We marched around to wake up our muscles, we woke up our eyes, arms, legs and other body parts moving in different ways around the room and so did T.W. from his chair.

T.W did Classical Ballet, Tap and Hip Hop dance all from his chair that day without me telling him how to do anything. I allowed him to use his imagination as well as do what he knew already. He did everything we did just  a little differently but he did them with us nonetheless. I was really impressed with all the creative ways he came up with to do what we did. He was happy that he could participate and belong. We were all happy too.

Inside I thanked God that I get to do what I do for a living. T.W. walked out of the class as if he never had an operation. He was back to his normal self and was not in any pain. He was happy and so was I. He felt great and so did I. He found out that day that he could do something that he thought he would not be able to do.  He was empowered.

With Pitter Patter Feet dance is used as a vehicle to transport children to a happy and empowered place. To learn about the world around them, and themselves, and reinforce what they learn in school. The curriculim is designed to make learning fun and to develop happy, fit and smart kids through dance.

How do you empower your children? I’d love to hear your thoughts and input to share with the community.

Peace and Empowerment,


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