Early Child Program
Our Early Childhood Program is specially designed to provide children between two and half through five years of age with a strong foundation in dance and movement; space and how we relate to it, both as an individual and as a member of a group; the eight basic locomotor movements; musical rhythm, beat and time; opposites and directions. Integrated with these physical concepts are the intellectual concepts of self-awareness, creative expression, imagination, teamwork, and basic body/health awareness.
Through participation in these classes, students also learn the basics of classroom behavior and manners, which remain the same throughout their dancing years. These concepts include learning how to take turns, following another dancer and leading the way, waiting patiently, working together with others, and having a positive attitude.
Educators now know that training young children in the concepts of movement sequencing, patterning, and spatial relationships lays a strong foundation for the later development of reading, mathematics, and other educational skills. Children in our Early Childhood Program work actively in all these areas. Our classes are limited in size (see below) and have an assistant if needed. This allows the teacher to keep the class moving for the entire time. Parents of this age group are asked to stay.
Below is an example of a class outline and what your child/children will be doing during the dance portion of the Elite Feet Dance Studio’s I Can Dance and Watch Me Dance classes. All teachers follow the same class outline. Class structure is maintained through a consistent class format. The activities within each segment of class time change as the year progresses. However, the order which activities are introduced maintains the same. By maintaining a consistent class format, the child’s ability to predict their environment increases. With this increased predictability, the child’s level of anxiety decreases, while their sense of security increases. This is one basic way to decrease behavior problems in the class.
Start of Class:
- 1.Children sit in a circle with a teddy bear and their choice of colored stars for the day. This will be repeated every week so they will begin to focus on the beginning of class.
- 2. Share Time (helps the teacher to get to know their personalities while at the same time they get to know the teacher better). Share time will last no longer than 15 to 20 seconds per child.
- 1. Warm-Up: Begin to learn the importance of warming up your muscles (We talk about how this is important in dance but also sports or any physical activity.) Usually use upbeat child appropriate music.
- 2. Center Barre: This will be done in a circle using a song for the children to follow. This activity will gradually have the teacher progressing into learning the simple steps of ballet.
- 3. Imagination Time – Giving the children the opportunity to express their own imagination and movement.
- 4. Across the Floor: Activities with different Locomotor Skills and different Levels of movement
- 5. Creative Movement Activity/Free Dance: Follow the Leader Activity giving each student the opportunity to use their imagination.
- 6. Class Ending: Taking a bow and giving themselves a pat on the back for doing a great job!
- 7. Receive Sticker and Coloring Sheet
All the Early Childhood Program teaching staff at Elite Feet Dance Studio have either a BS or BFA in Dance. All teachers follow the same outline each month so each student is learning the skills in a well- designed sequence. All classes have assistant teachers, but no classes are taught by teenagers.
Gotta Dance classes are limited to 12 students. All other classes are limited to 10 students.
Monthly Objectives provide a focus around which to build speciﬁc dance-related skills. Each year the Monthly Objectives are the same for the corresponding month and correlate with the natural progression of the “dance year”.
For example, the ﬁrst monthly objective is Classroom Etiquette, corresponding to the introduction of the children and their parents to the studio environment. The subsequent monthly objectives teach the students about music and space, and as the year progresses, the objectives center on teaching and preparing children for a positive performance experience for the end of the year recital. Although the subject matter of the monthly objective is the same each year, as the student progresses, she obtains a more mature understanding of each of these very important themes.
- September Classroom Etiquette
- October Musical Awareness
- November Relationships to Others
- December Putting Steps in a Sequence
- January Body Awareness
- February Expressing Emotions Through Movement
- March Relating to Working Space and the Stage
- April Learning About Pantomime
- May Performance Time