Hi friends! How is the beginning of the year going for you? Mine is easing in and I’m having a blast! Going to start some fall lessons here pretty soon! My fave!
I was thinking the other day about rules, and how and when to give them to a class. How do you explain the rules? I thought I would share how I do it, in case it’s helpful to anyone who is reading!
I go back and forth about rules. Kids need rules for sure, but in my opinion some rules should just be unspoken! I find that if I bring up a rule like “please don’t play in that side alcove in the back of the room” many of my students never even thought to even go there, but since I brought it up, now they are curious and want to go see the alcove. Know what I mean?
Since I work with such young children, I try to only address things as they come up. Someone is picking up a star and throwing it across the room, that’s when I address what we do with the starts.
Something else that is really helpful for me, is to ask the dancers about the rules instead of laying them out for them. Here are some examples. I omit “no” as much as possible.
1. Me: Are you allowed to touch your friends at school?
Me: “Why not?”
Students: “Because we can get hurt or hurt someone else.
Me: It’s the same for dance class. We keep our hand to our own bodies.
2. Me: Do you think it’s a good idea to run in the dance room?
Me: Why not?
Students: “you can get hurt!”
Me: That’s right, and there are other places to run like….
Students: “the playground!”
I like to make them come up with the answer! This way they remember it, instead of me just standing up there saying “no running and no touching your friends.” It takes a little more time, but it seems to work!
Really those are the only two rules I address on the first day, and really only for 3 and up. My toddlers I just plow through and address it as it comes.
So, how do you give the rules, if any? What has working for you, and what hasn’t? Do you wait until a problem arises or do you address everything on the first day? I would love to hear! :)
This week, the first week of class for the fall, I started using loofahs as a prop! They have been sitting in my closet for a while because I couldn’t figure out what to do with them. But this week I got motivated. I told myself, “just give it to the kids, and you will figure it out.” So that’s what I did and we figured out some really fun things to do with them. Here’s what we did:
I used the song Imagination Land from the movie Inside Out. It’s the perfect song for this prop! I used this with my toddlers all the way up to my 5 year olds. It was a hit all around.
1) “put polka dots” all over your body parts.
2) Toss and catch (Read: baby toss, “if you throw it to high, it’s to hard to catch.”
3) Pretend it’s a flower and dance with it.
4) It’s a pillow! Lay down and sleep on it.
5) Kick it with the side of your foot.
6) Saute jump over it. Leaps too!
7) Swing it. Side to side, and around in a circle.
8) The wanted to pretend to take a shower, because “my mom showers with these!” ha!
Have you ever tried dancing with loofahs? It was really fun, and inspired my creativity that I have been missing. I would love to hear if you try it! xo
A good friend that I met through this blog created alphabet cards to use in creative movement! On the front is the letter and on the back are creative ideas that begin with that letter! So clever and awesome!
You could use them in any classI Lay them all out like in the above photo and have someone pick which letter they want to explore. It would be great for parents and babysitters too! You can use them as a prompts and then come up with some of your own ideas too.
For those of you looking for something fresh for fall, here it is! It’s just another way to get inspired and who doesn’t love the alphabet!
You can buy the cards here! And if you try them Zan and I would love to hear!
This September I’m going to try using Apple Music for my classes. In the past I have been using an ancient iPod that is so hard to add new music to! I think this will really be inspiring because I can search music and add them to playlists on the spot. I can add music without buying it, and I can introduce my littles to an even wider variety of music! I’m so excited to try it!
Have you used apple music or spotify (basically the same) in your classes? If you have how do you like it? If you haven’t, would you ever try it? I would love to hear! xo
Last week I presented at the Dance Teacher Summit in Long Beach, California! It was a blast, and I met so many new teachers and made some wonderful connections! The picture above is me, right before my sessions. I wore purple pants to feel powerful! I took a lot of photos and am excited to share them with you if you would like to see!
I loved the colors and the new design of the summit this year! So refreshing!
These are photos from my sessions! I presented on toddler dance (ages 2-3) and partner dances (ages 4-5). In past years I have brought my students to participate in the demonstration, but this year since it was across the country I wasn’t able to bring them. I had the teachers be the students which I think also has value but it just wasn’t the same. Also, talking on a mic without my littles in front of me was so strange! Hopefully next year I will be able to bring them again!
It was so fun and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to share my knowledge of early childhood with other dance teachers.
I met tWitch and Allison! They designed a new costume brand called Tenth House. It’s elite stageware and it’s beautiful! If I taught older kids they would be wearing this stuff for sure. Check it out! Below is the fashion show where we get to see all of the costumes! Aren’t they amazing?
At night we hung out around the water and the boats. It was a great 5 days! Next year the Dance Teacher Summit will be in two places! Back in NYC and in Long Beach! I hope to see you there! xo
Hi Friends, How are you doing? I confess it’s been a while since I have written (again!) but with this being my 6th year celebration of writing this blog I am writing in celebration. The truth is, I have been trying to find a way to jump back in, but I have felt so far behind that jumping back in has felt daunting. Plus, I’m just still trying to find the work/life/writing balance. So hard! I know you all understand.
As I go back and read my other blogoversay posts, I feel so lucky to have this community! Thank you for reading and for being faithful readers! I have been doing some brainstorming and plan to set aside a few days a week just for writing and posting. I have lots to post and am excited about writing and sharing ideas again.
Here’s to 6 years! That’s a long time in blog years! As always thanks for reading and we will talk later this week! xoxo
p.s. speaking of work/life balance, this was a photo of me working on my celebration with baby in hand!
This summer I’m presenting for the 3rd time at the Dance Teacher Summit! I feel so grateful to be asked again especially since it’s in California this year. Are you planning on going? I would love to meet you in person!
I’m telling you about it because I am brainstorming some topics for sessions and I want your help! I’m thinking of doing something involving toddler dance, which I know is always in need of some inspiration. And… maybe something involving situations in the dance room? Ex: separation, “she’s not my friend” type stuff.
If you were to attend, what would you want to learn about within early childhood? It could be anything! If I end up picking an idea from the ones here, I will write up a post on all of it so you won’t miss out!
I’m linking up with Maia of Open Arts in North Carolina to offer a workshop for early childhood dance and movement teachers! I’m really excited about this! We would love to see you and meet you in person! Start off your year with some inspiration!
You can find more details here! Please pass it on to anyone you think might love this workshop! Also, if you are looking for something specific in a workshop please tell me in the comments so I can be sure to include it!
p.s. write us with any questions, we would be happy to hear from you! xo
I know it’s been so long since I wrote and I have missed it. And you. After having my baby I went back to teaching a full schedule in 7 weeks. What I didn’t anticipate was that I needed a longer maternity leave from writing. I really missed it, but just couldn’t find time to sit down and write. Honestly, anytime I really sit down, I fall asleep! Ha!
I know a lot of you have your own children, plus teach hundred of children a week, so I know you understand.
I have lots to tell you about, and giveaways to post, plus I’m going to continue the Around The World Series! So here’s to a new beginning of writing. I hope you are still with me!
p.s. My celebrations are in 30 days! Oh yeah, planning shows have been happily taking up my time as well! How are your celebrations coming along? Above is a photo of H on the JCC stage. I took all my littles to the stage to rehearse during there class time this past week. It was so much fun!