Little kids love to move and they enjoy pretending and using their imaginations as well. This free ballet lesson on Youtube for toddlers and preschoolers, taught by an ex-professional dancer and primary school teacher infuses the best of both of these aspects of childhood play and learning.
Kids love to dance but many when young, dislike having to copy exactly what an adult or teacher demonstrates. Instead they see the steps, but then hear the music and want to move their bodies in their own creative ways. When learning dance online, and having watched my girls complete months of zoom classes with our local dance teacher, I have noticed how kids become easily distracted which is why in this ballet lesson I promote kids to take ownership of their dancing and give them the choice to either follow me and my direction or use my movement as inspiration to develop and create their own.
As this is not a live lesson and as the coach or teacher, I am not there to correct your child and fix their alignment or their steps, therefore I believe that the class should be creative and fun so that their passion for dance at such a young age is nurtured, whilst also learning about correct terminology and technique but in a way that allows them to explore movement which means they can do the lesson over and over and discover new ways to move their bodies and gain enjoyment each time.
What is the best age to start Ballet Classes?
The best age for your child to start ballet lessons is when they are interested in doing so.
To go to a live class where you wait outside the studio as your child takes class, your child should be toilet trained, be able to follow simple instructions, and be able to comfortably leave your care so that they focus on participating in the dance lesson rather than constantly asking for you. There are also Grownup and Me (or Mommy and Me) classes where you can participate with the youngest of children who need help accomplishing the above skills on their own.
The beauty of online classes is that you can do them in your own home and the skills outlined above will not matter! But in saying this, your child either way needs to have a genuine interest in wanting to dance and do classes otherwise you will have a hard time keeping them focused and attentive on any type of lesson.
I cover this question in much more depth in the article What is the Best Age To Start Dancing on the Dance Parent 101 website
What are the benefits of learning ballet for a child?
Ballet is a discipline and to learn ballet and become good at it you learn to be disciplined. Children learning ballet learn:
- to listen to instructions given by their teacher.
- to follow instructions given by a teacher.
- patience as others take their turn.
- patience as it takes time to learn new skills.
- how rewarding it is to learn and work hard at gaining new skills.
- the etiquette of watching and encouraging others.
- to work within a group of other children.
- spatial awareness as they space themselves apart from others as they move.
- spatial awareness as they move in locomotion around a space with many others around them.
- how to safely stretch their bodies.
- how to warm up and cool down their bodies.
- build movement memory as they learn to remember choreography and routines.
- develop musicality as they move their bodies to the rhythm and beat of music.
- learn the different times for music such as 3/4 and 4/4 as well as whole notes, half notes etc..
- learn the terminology of dance expanding their vocabulary.
These are really only a handful of the learning outcomes you can expect your child to gain from doing ballet classes – and I should know – I myself learnt all these things from a young age and watch my children today do the same.
Some other benefits to learning dance are the obvious health and fitness benefits, but one of the major benefits of ballet which many kids need in this day and age of screens and gaming is that it focuses on developing core muscles and posture – standing up straight rather than slouching which is all to familiar in today’s youth.
LINKS TO THE CURRICULUM
Having been a teacher in Australia with a Bachelor of Education (Primary), I am always looking at ways to creatively teach children and regularly used dance and movement in my classroom to enforce learning of concepts and material we were learning about in different areas of the school curriculum.
The following are some links and connections that can be made from this creative dance lesson to other areas of learning!
Mathematics or Arithmetic
- Count forwards or backward as you do ballet walks, plies, or sautés or any other ballet step or exercise.
- Count how long you can balance on one leg or in a ballet pose such as an arabesque or retire.
- Measure the length of your jete or ballet leap.
- Measure your height when on flat feet and en releve (to rise) and work out the difference.
- Use a ballet ribbon to measure objects around the house – which ones are shorter or longer than your ribbon.
- Collect Data and make graphs about ballet and dance – ask your family if they like ballet, ever took a class, have seen a ballet.
- Read a book about dance that encourages numeracy and counting – you can find some of these in this article on Dance Parent 101
English and Literacy
- Create your own ballet or dance alphabet book – you could take photos of your child doing the movements to include in the book with the letters for example P is for Plie.
- Use ballet and dance terminology in a spelling list.
- Create handwriting tasks using ballet and dance terminology.
- Create a list of adjectives to describe how we move our bodies in ballet – graceful, elegant, smooth, etc…
- Create a list of verbs to describe how we move in ballet – leap, soar, bend, etc…
- Write or tell a Recount about doing your online ballet lesson or a dance class you have taken.
- Write a narrative or fictional story about ballet or dance.
- Research and then write a report about the history of ballet or a famous ballet dancer.
- Write an argumentative or persuasive essay to convince others about the benefits of ballet and why they should start taking lessons.
- Read stories about dance and ballet.
- Learn the names of the different body parts we use doing various steps in ballet.
- Study the muscles, joints, ligaments etc… and how they move when we dance.
- Explore and learn about the best ways to strenghen and stretch the human body.
- Investigate forces such as push and pull and how these forces affect how our bodies move when we dance.
- Study gravity and how his affects how high we can leap and jump in ballet.
- Explore different ballet syllabuses and ways of learning and teaching ballet.
- Study the history of ballet and dance.
- Investigate maps and locations in relation to the history of ballet or where major ballet companies, schools and theatres are located around the world.
- Learn about the history of dance in different cultures.
Art and Craft
For some great Dance based craft ideas head to my article on Dance Parent 101
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