Are They Ready for Dance Class

Are They Ready For Dance Class?

Many of us have settled into the new dance season. At this point in our early childhood classes, we may be asking ourselves if certain little ones just aren’t ready for dance class. 

Perhaps, they still cling to their caregiver as class is about to begin or they run for the door once inside the studio. Maybe quiet tears glide down their face as they stretch for their toes or they refuse to move their body at all. There is no denying that our first dance class experience away from our grownups can bring along some heavy emotions. But, how do we know what’s developmentally appropriate and when it’s time to say they just aren’t ready? Below is a simple guide to help evaluate new students to see if they just need more time adjusting or if it’s time for a change. Please note, this is meant as a general guide. Every child should be evaluated individually based on their unique needs. 

Don’t Give Up If…

  • dancer walks into the studio independently
  • dancer participates when invited to join an activity
  • the teacher gives the dancer a job and they do it
  • dancer watches the teacher or participating children during class
  • dancer takes a prop when given
  • dancer cries but also participates
  • dancer stops crying for a certain activity 
  • dancer observes other classes with excitement
  • dancer talks about dance at home
  • dancer dances and does class activities at home
  • caregivers are supportive about working with teacher during separation process

Maybe Needs a Change If…

  • crying on the way to dance class does not end after 3-4 weeks
  • teacher has to take the dancer from caregiver’s arms after 3-4 weeks
  • dancer seems sleepy and irritable due to time of class (naptime, end of day)
  • crying and no participation during the entire class does not end after 2-3 weeks
  • dancer hits or kicks the teacher, assistant, or other students
  • dancer runs for the door and tries to exit studio after 2-3 weeks
  • dancer is distracting or upsetting other students in class after 2-3 weeks
  • attendance is not consistent

Change Could Be…

  • class on a different day or time of class
  • a caregiver/tot class 
  • more time before dancer tries class again

With a little grace, understanding, and a whole lot of patience these dancers can grow to be the strongest and most confident students you will ever have the honor to watch grow through your program. Don’t give up. They need dance. They need you. 

Thank you for planting the joy of dance in their hearts. 

Click here for a printable “Are they ready?” guide.

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Andrea Trench is dedicated to helping dance teachers create and deliver content that is research-based and developmentally appropriate for children under the age of 6. Her primary focus is classroom management, conceptual teaching, and foundational movement skill development in early childhood dance education. In addition, Andrea uses her 12 years of experience as a partner in a dance studio to inspire, equip, and empower educators.

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