It’s often extremely rewarding to work with young dancers—they’re cute and energetic and eager to learn. However, sometimes you may be faced with behavioral problems when teaching preschool dance and it can feel a little bit like you’re trying to herd cats. When you’re having trouble getting young students to focus during dance class, try using these three tips to keep them engaged and having fun.
1. Give Them Options
When energy is running high, chances are that you won’t be able to get your little dancers to line up and plié all together. Dance Advantage explained that children who are learning to make their own decisions will respond much better when they’re given choices. You don’t want to give your students unlimited possibilities, but try giving them two or three options to choose from during an activity. You can let them choose their favorite traveling step for an impromptu dance, then have them switch after a few minutes. When dancers feel like they’re in control, there will be much less pouting and foot stomping.
2. Keep Class Moving
It’s also important to realize that toddlers have a limited attention span. Try to break your classes up into a series of short and sweet activities. A good rule of thumb is to spend between five and 10 minutes on one formation or skill, then switch it up. You can always return to the activity later in the class if need be. If ever you sense that kids are getting distracted during a lesson, try to move on to something new as quickly as possible to bring them back into the action.
3. Partner Up with Troublemakers
Sometimes all it takes is one misbehaving child to get the whole class distracted. When you notice a student is having trouble listening, 4 Dancers recommended that you ask the child to be your partner on the next activity. This will allow you to instruct him or her more closely and keep other kids focused. You can also ask troublemakers to help out with transition activities, like handing out props or checking off attendance markers.
Teaching preschool dance may take a lot of energy and patience on your part, but it will definitely be a rewarding experience in the long run. Many of these little dancers will grow up to be your star students, so enjoy each moment you spend sculpting them into talented performers.