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 Dance Program work actively in all of these areas.
CREATIVE DANCE...3 year olds
Three year olds are quite new to learning how their bodies move, as well as how to behave in a class situation, so we gently introduce them to the classroom environment. Because this age child loves and needs repetition, the same class is repeated several times before being changed. Some of the concepts that we teach are: stretching the foot (the foundation for a battement tendu), balancing on one leg (an essential skill for a dancer), weight transfers from one foot to another (the basis for balancé), jumping, simple arm movements, stretching, and moving across the floor. Many types of movement characterizations are used to develop both movement quality and imagination.
CREATIVE DANCE PLUS...4 year olds
We build on the 3 year old work, and the student now learns to further control their movements. Weight transfers are not only done forwards and backwards, but also side to side. Balances are more sustained. Jumps are now done in basic patterns, traveling steps are often done with partners, and skipping is learned.
PRE-PRIMARY DANCE...5 year olds
The five year olds continue to work on the same concepts, but in greater degrees of complexity. Their ability to remember patterning is developed, counting with the music is introduced, and weight transfers and steps are taught in more complex patterns.
This class is a transitional one between the Early Childhood Dance Program and the Beginner levels of ballet/jazz/tap. Essentially this class takes the concepts learned in the early childhood program and begins to put the into the format used in a “traditional” dance class; warm-up, barre, center stretching, centre practice, adage, allegro, across the floor traveling steps. By the time the students complete the E.C.D.P., they are both mentally and physically ready for a formal dance class.
Our Early Childhood Dance Program is specially designed to provide children between the ages of three and seven with a strong foundation in dance and movement. It teaches the young dancer the basic elements of movement and dance:Space and how we relate to it; both as an individual and as a member of a group, Basic locomotor movements, Musical rhythm, beat, and time, Opposites and directions, and some elementary positions of ballet. 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 behaviour and manners which remain the same throughout their dancing years. These concepts include: learning how to take turns, following another dancer leading the way, waiting patiently, working together with others, and having a positive attitude.
*it is important to remember that physical skills that often seem quite simple to us as adults are very difficult and complicated for young children