As dance teachers and studio owners, we know that dance schools can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience for children. By teaching engaging and entertaining classes students are excited to come back week after week, but, if we are not building relationships and engaging with their parents there is a disconnect that could result in withdrawals. It is important to remember that parents also play a crucial role in their child's success at the studio. Getting parents involved at dance school can help with retention and build relationships that can last a lifetime. Here are some ways to get parents involved at dance school:
Good communication: By sending out regular newsletters and emails to parents with updates on upcoming events, class schedules, and any other important information will help keep them informed and engaged. Another key element with the emails is to make sure that you have a system set up for answering emails in a timely manner. Another great way to keep parents connected is to Create a private Facebook page for your dance families and encourage parents to follow and engage with the page. Share photos and videos of classes, dance performances, and events, and encourage parents to share their own. Always be sure to engage with their posts and comments and answer questions that they ask in a timely manner. We have also built a hub for our parents that is an extension of our website. In the hub they can find all of the information they need in one place at any time of the day. The hub is updated weekly to make sure the most important information is front and center for our families.
Parent Observation Days: Hosting parent observation days is a great way to get parents involved and engaged with their child's dance education. These days can be scheduled throughout the year, and parents are invited to watch their child's class in action. We set our observation days twice a year, once in the winter before spring break and again in the spring before the recital. This allows them to see firsthand what their child is learning and how they're progressing. It can also provide an opportunity for parents to ask questions, learn more about the curriculum, and bond with other parents.
Parent Participation Week: Hosting a week where parents can participate in classes with their child can be a fun and rewarding experience for both parents and children. These classes can provide an opportunity for parents and children to bond over a shared activity and learn new dance moves together. This can also help build a stronger relationship between the parent and child, which can lead to greater support for the child's dance education. I have found that each time we host parent participation week the parents become more and more involved in the dance school in general. They have a better appreciation for how hard their children work and realize how much work goes into each class and routine that they learn. Parent participation is a win-win in many ways.
Volunteer Opportunities: Another way to get parents involved at the dance school is to offer volunteer opportunities. Parents can help out with various tasks such as ushering, ticket sales, in a dressing room, altering costumes, building props, driving a truck for the local parade, walking in local parades, backstage assistance during performances, and much more. This provides a great opportunity for parents to get to know the instructors, other parents, and their child's peers. It also shows the child that their parent is invested in their dance education, which can lead to a greater sense of pride and accomplishment. Each year we offer several different opportunities for our dance parents to volunteer and have seen many great connections among other dance parents, students, and studio staff.
Parent-Teacher Conferences/Pathway Meetings: Scheduling parent-teacher conferences can help build relationships between parents and teachers. We like to call our meetings pathways as we discuss what the next pathway looks like for each individual child. These meetings provide an opportunity for teachers to share their observations and insights on the child's progress, and for parents to ask questions, discuss concerns, and provide feedback. This communication can help build trust between parents and teachers and provides a time for the teacher to help show the parent what is next for their child. By creating a pathway for their child, it helps the parent see that there is a plan to help their child reach their goals.
In conclusion, getting parents involved at dance school is essential for retaining students and building relationships that can last a lifetime. By providing great communication, parent observation days, parent participation week, volunteer opportunities, parent teacher conferences or pathways, dance schools can foster a sense of community and involvement that benefits everyone involved.
Pam Simpson is the founder, president, and driving force behind Forte Arts Center, which was established in Morris, Illinois in 1993. In addition to building her business from a small, one room studio to a large, multi-location organization that offers dance, tumbling and cheer programs as well as private music lessons, Pam is a leading force in the realm of small business ownership in the dance and tumbling industries as she travels all over the country speaking to and educating for large organizations such as Rhee Gold Company, Dance Teacher Summit, and More Than Just Great Dancing. When not working on her businesses, Pam enjoys spending time with her family and visiting her daughter, who is a performer at Walt Disney World.