One of the questions I get most often is a form of, “What should I be doing at home to make her practice more?” The answer is nothing.
I think it’s easy as a parent, and as an educator, to forget how young these students actually are. They truly don’t need a lot of “homework”. At this age they are like little sponges, and they learn at a rapid rate. The goal at this point in their dance education is to make learning fun. This will help to encourage them to dance for years to come (if he/she chooses) and prevent burnout.
A lot of parents are surprised to hear that it might not be the best idea to ask your dancer to “show me what you learned in ballet today”. They can’t always remember what they learned because we only spend a brief amount of time on each activity. Another dance educator stated, “It would be like taking a foreign language class without a book or notes and the entire class is taught in the foreign language.” That being said, after they have been in the class for awhile, they will naturally start to share things with you at home. If you continue to ask and they don’t know the answer they will start to think they aren’t learning or aren’t pleasing you. Be patient! They will learn and be happy to share these dances and ideas with you.
If your child is the type who wants to practice at home, let him/her! Put on some music and let your child dance however the music moves them. Perhaps even allow them to be the teacher. They’ll be glad to teach you what they know and you will get a sneak peek into what they are learning in class. Dancing is such a fun and magical experience at this age. By placing too many expectations on the young child, we often take some of the joy out of the process.
At Studio Go we want to provide resources to help with the learning process. We are currently working on and developing the Parent Portal, which will have useful information and tools to help your little one grow outside of class. But, you guessed it, we’ll be sure to make it fun!
Sit back, relax, and rest assured that your little one is learning in dance class. I’ll venture to say that you’ll be quite impressed when you see what he/she has accomplished at our end of the year recitals!