8 reasons to choose a pre-school dance class
We are strong believers that you are never too young to dance! Are you currently considering dance classes for your pre-school age child? What are the main benefits of pre-school dance? We’ve pulled together just some of the benefits your child (and you!) are likely to get from attending dance class >
- Music. Don’t think that dance classes are purely about dance – there is also a strong musical element, too. Although at a pre-school age, your child will be too young to begin formal music education, dancing to music is a natural response and could be the start of your child’s musical appreciation. At a pre-school level, some dance classes involve musical instruments (maracas, tambourine, guiro, triangle) and singing/rhymes with actions, which can assist with developing speech.
“Participating in musical activities – whether playing an instrument, singing or listening – stimulates a whole network of brain areas, each interacting with the others to contribute to enjoyment and understanding of the music. This brain workout leads to improved structure and function through a process called neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.” The Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Canada
2. Motor Skills. Dance develops motor skills for the whole body in a fun and exciting way. It aids co-ordination, balance and dexterity of the hands and feet. Proprioception (an awareness of limbs in relation to the body) and spatial awareness (a person’s awareness of where they are in a space) are also improved. Classes that involve props can also have sensory benefits.
3. Preparation for academic school. A huge milestone is quickly approaching: starting school. By entering a dance class, a child can gain experience of listening and responding to a teacher – a situation that your child may never have experienced. Even if your child attends nursery, a dance class is probably the closest learning environment to that of an academic school. Dance classes offer structured learning, with all participants simultaneously focusing on the same task – just like school.
4. Independence. Entering a room and participating in activities without a parent, and taking instruction from someone other than a parent, are all steps that will increase a child’s independence.
In pre-school dance classes for babies and toddlers, parents are often present in the class. In sharing this experience together, these classes can be valuable bonding time for both you and your child.
As your child gets older, however, it is likely that you will no longer be participating in dance classes alongside your child. Parents could be asked either to observe quietly from the side or to wait in a neighbouring room. Although it might feel difficult for you to leave your child, it’s important to remember that there is a good reason why some dance teachers ask this. Parents can be a distracting presence for the students as they begin the learning process. Additionally, as children grow up and become more aware of their surroundings, some are embarrassed when they see parents watching. If there were a problem, it can be reassuring for both you and your child that you are only in the room next door.
But where better for your child to experience independence than in the safe, caring, but fun environment of a dance class?
5. Friends (for your child). This is a crucial age for children to meet and socialise with children of a similar age. It can give your child the opportunity to make new friends outside of nursery.
As you probably remember from your school days, friends at academic school can be split away because of class changes and attending different junior schools, high schools and colleges. However, dancers can often stay together with the same group of friends, even if they aren’t always in the same classes as each other. Dance schools are such close-knit families that students can be around each other for many years.
6. Friends (for you). Your child may attend nursery, but perhaps you find that you’re always in a rush dropping off/collecting your child and have no chance to get to know to any parents with children of a similar age? Attending dance classes can be a social activity for you as well as your child. Dance classes for pre-schoolers are often grouped by age, so you have the chance to speak with like-minded parents before or after class – or even during, if you are in a waiting area while your child is in class.
7. Inclusive. Remember that dance is an inclusive activity: gender, race, ethnicity, nationality and disability are not discriminated against. Anyone can participate in and enjoy dance classes. Dance can offer many benefits for children with special educational needs or disabilities.
8. Hobbies. By beginning dance classes at a pre-school age, you are giving your child what could potentially be a lifelong hobby, interest in and appreciation of dance. It will help them to be fitter and healthier; it also provides a wonderful source of fun exercise as they move into their teenage years and beyond.
Don’t forget that many famous dancers began classes just as a hobby – you could inadvertently be giving your child the opportunity for an amazing career.
If you’re looking for dancewear to kit out your little dancer, we have an excellent range of leotards suitable for children under 5 from Capezio, Bloch, Roch Valley and Freed of London. Shop the full range of girls leotards here > And we have a range of boys leotards available here >
And don’t forget your shoes. We recommend leather full sole ballet shoes. The Bloch Arise and Roch Valley Ophelia are great first ballet shoes. And if your pre-schooler is taking tap, we have a full range on offer here. If you need any help or advice please call our customer helpline on 0344 561 6664 and our helpful team will be able to advise you.