It’s “back to school” season on this side of the pond, and like many dance teachers, you’re probably busily gearing up for the year ahead. This is an exciting time for some and a daunting one for others. Your little students are buying new ballet shoes, getting their tights and leotards for their upcoming pre-ballet classes, and wading through the emotional anxiety that this new time can bring.
Let’s take a moment to look at the world through the eyes of one of your potential new students:
Dear Dance Teacher,
Hi! I’m three, and I’m here to dance! Please treat me gently, because my “person” is just beginning to unfold, kind of like a rosebud ready to open.
I need nourishment, safe structure, and a lot of understanding patience from my new dance teacher. I EXPECT that she will love me, because Mom (or Dad) does. I’m a little scared to leave Mom, and maybe a little or a LOT scared of this strange new place I don’t know yet, and all these strange people! But I’m as anxious to please as a friendly puppy.
I really don’t know exactly what “dancing” is all about yet. I’m here because Mom seems to think it’s a good thing for me, and I pretty much just try to do what she asks at this point in my life.
Teach me what my young, soft muscles and joints feel comfortable doing. Treat me like a valuable person. Remember that I am NOT AN ADULT, and I can’t figure things out like an adult can yet. I also can’t move as well as a grown-up quite yet.
I also just started talking a year or so ago, so if I don’t do what you ask, or if I get scared when you ask me a question, maybe it’s because I don’t really know what all those big words mean. I still use feelings more than words in trying to understand life, but I promise to do my very best for you, and to try hard to learn everything that you and Mom want me to.
So, hello teacher! Let’s dance! (Whatever that is. I hope it’s fun!)
P.S. Thank you for being my teacher.
This sweet letter from an imaginary three-year-old ballet student is a great reminder that you are an important influencer and role model for your pre-ballet students.
Your students come to you from all kinds of backgrounds, and with a plethora of social, emotional, and physical challenges to overcome. Be a knowledgeable, patient, kind, and understanding teacher to your students and see how they begin to bloom over the course of their exciting first year of dance!
For more in-depth help with this age group, click on the image below to learn more about “Ballet Arts for Young Children: Level 1 (ages 3-4)”
- Understanding Your Student’s Growth Process
- Find the Causes of Their Actions: All Behavior is Learned
- Why Wait to Teach Ballet Technique?
- Self-Esteem in the Pre-Ballet Class
Material from this blog is from the Ballet Arts for Young Children’s “Level 1 Curriculum Book” by Ruth H. Brinkerhoff, © The Ballet Source, 2016. All rights reserved.